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  • Acid Reflux & Tooth Decay

    You know that chewing is the first step in the digestive process, but did you know that your digestive health can have an impact on your teeth? If you have acid reflux, it could be eroding your tooth enamel. Once it wears away, enamel can’t be restored. However, you can take action before it happens to protect your teeth.

    Before we get into that, let’s talk about why enamel erosion happens in the first place. If you’ve got acid reflux, you know it’s very uncomfortable. Symptoms of acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), include chest pain and heartburn. These symptoms occur because acid produced by the stomach has washed back up into the esophagus. That same stomach acid can reach your teeth and wear away their enamel. Strong enamel protects your teeth against pain and sensitivity, but when that enamel erodes, your teeth become vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities.

    Acid reflux is not the only thing that can erode your enamel. Too much sugar, acidic foods, heavy drinking, brushing too hard, and tooth grinding are among the other culprits. GERD is probably the most damaging of all, so take these steps to protect your teeth:

    • Work on getting your acid reflux under control. Work with your doctor to determine the best way to do this. Your plan may include things like losing weight, eating fewer acidic foods, having smaller meals, sleeping propped up, quitting smoking, and limiting your alcohol consumption.
    • Change the way you eat and drink. This starts with cutting back on acidic foods like soda, citrus, and even tomato sauce, but that’s just the beginning. You can also protect your enamel by not eating within three hours of bedtime and drinking through a straw. Never brush immediately after a meal, because that can be erosive. Instead, swish water around your mouth after you eat or have a piece of cheese or glass of milk to finish your meal and neutralize the acid.
    • Drink plenty of water. This keeps damaging substances from staying on your teeth and can also lessen dry mouth.
    • Chew some gum. Chewing sugar free gum can increase saliva production, which strengthens your teeth and helps protect them against erosion and decay.
    • Choose a fluoride toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. Talk to your dentist about your best options for toothpaste and mouthwash.
    • See your dentist regularly. Seeing the dentist every six months is something everyone should do, but it’s particularly important for people with acid reflux. Your dentist will notice any tooth erosion and can help you keep your teeth healthy.

    At West County Dental, we provide personalized family dental care using state of the art procedures. Adhering to a standard of excellence, we provide comprehensive treatment, from preventive care to restorative dentistry. When you reserve a visit with West County Dental, you can be confident that our team of highly-trained dental professionals will provide you the care you need for a healthy smile. Call (314) 488-2921 or contact us through our website today!

  • Exploring the Recent Research on Juice and Cavities in Kids

    St. Louis Dentists Children should visit their St. Louis dentists regularly to ensure good oral health. Regular visits are important for inspecting teeth and gums and help families learn the best way to care for teeth, including the latest facts and research. Check out this research about juice and cavities in kids:

    How Sugary Drinks Affect Teeth

    We have all heard that sugary drinks are bad for your teeth. For the most part, that statement seems to be true. Artificial sugar is a main ingredient in many beverages that are popular with children in the United States. Many children are guzzling down soda, energy drinks, and artificially-enhanced fruit juices at meal times and even in between. Unfortunately, these sugary drinks contain acids that soften and weaken tooth enamel. Over time, this can lead to tooth decay that causes cavities and more if left untreated.

    How 100% Fruit Juice Affects Teeth

    A lot of fruit juice you see on grocery store shelves contains added sugar and other ingredients that make it unhealthy and especially bad for dental health. But recent studies show that 100% fruit juice without any additives or extra sugar does not have the same effect on dental health. Children who drink 100% fruit juice are no more likely to develop cavities than those who do not drink this tasty beverage. That means 100% fruit juice can be a healthy snack that provides children with vitamins and nutrients without harming tooth enamel.

    What Children Should Drink

    New research makes it clear that 100% fruit juice is a healthy choice for all members of the family, including children. But just like with any other food or drink, it is important to enjoy juice in moderation. Dark fruit juices can stain the teeth, especially if sipped slowly or for over a long period of time. Encourage children to consume plenty of water throughout the day to wash away residue and reduce the risk of staining the teeth. If you do happen to stain your teeth with fruit juice, you can always ask your dentist about teeth whitening in the future!