Do you know that gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and sleep problems (i.e. sleep apnea) can cause significant damage to your dental health?
Actually, 80% out of the 60 million Americans who have been diagnosed with GERD complain of increased symptoms at night, which some say leads to sleep apnea and other sleep problems.
The destruction of enamel from GERD and sleep apnea
Moreover, in the presence of GERD and sleep apnea (including bruxism), your teeth and dental health can significantly be harmed. However, a majority of patients do not realize the negative impact that acid reflux can have on their teeth until their teeth have been majorly destructed.
- Actually, scientists and dentists are aware of the fact that dental enamel starts to dissolve at a pH of 5.5, which means that significant chemical erosion can occur since stomach acid has a pH of 2.0.
- Due to chemical erosion, once the dental enamel is damaged or destroyed, the enamel cannot grow back—once the damage is done, the damage is done.
- Furthermore, when the acids destroy the tooth enamel, this causes your teeth to erode and also causes cavities.
GERD (acid reflux) and bruxism = double whammy
Some of our Houston patients have come to our office to get treated for bruxism and acid reflux. Treating these two conditions as thoroughly and quickly as possible is paramount for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. If a patient has both acid reflux and bruxism, this equates to a bad combination because both issues cause significantly negative teeth damage, and must be reversed and treated as soon as possible.
The current debate between acid reflux and sleep apnea
Currently, there is a debate in the medical community as to which comes first—chronic heartburn (acid reflux) or sleeping disorders. In other words, the debate stands: Does acid reflux cause sleep apnea by backing up in the esophagus making it harder to breathe, or does sleep apnea cause acid reflux? There have been scientific studies conducted that support both sides of the coin.
As a matter of fact, the majority of people diagnosed with GERD also report worse symptoms at night, in which 3 in 4 people report waking up at night because of their symptoms.
Call for your consultation today!
If you are concerned about the negative effects that GERD, sleep apnea, and bruxism can have on your teeth, contact our office today. At your consultation, one of our Houston dentists, Dr. Hedge or Dr. Frazar, will evaluate your case to determine the course of action and treatment so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful teeth for a lifetime. So call today to schedule your consultation appointment!