If you've been diagnosed with acid reflux, you've probably heard about the damage it can do to your teeth. When acids rise back up into your mouth, they can attack your enamel and your gums, leading to discomfort, decay, and potentially eventually tooth loss. While antacids may seem like the answer, they present an unfortunate Catch-22: antacids aren't good for your teeth either. They are, however, good at tackling acid reflux. So what should you do if you need to take them? Here are 3 ways to prevent antacids from ruining your teeth.
Opt For Sugar-Free
As antacids can be unpleasant to chew, many varieties are made with sugary flavourings that make them more palatable. While this sugary antacids may taste better, they're unsurprisingly harmful to your teeth. When you chew them, they leave sugary deposits on your teeth that stay there until you drink, eat, or brush. Instead, it's better to opt for sugar-free antacids that are kinder on teeth. If you must take sugary antacids, make sure you rinse your mouth out with water afterwards to wash away as much of the sugar as possible. Remember that you should avoid brushing immediately after eating sugar as your enamel is in a weakened state, making teeth susceptible to damage from brushing.
Keep Your Mouth Moist
Another way antacids damage your teeth is by drying out your mouth. Saliva is essential to a healthy mouth, so medications that absorb moisture or cause you to produce less saliva (like antacids) can increase your risk of issues like tooth decay and poor gum health. Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your mouth moist. You can try chewing gum or sucking on a hard sweet (make sure you choose a sugar-free variety) to stimulate saliva production, you can avoid drying agents like caffeine, or you can ask your dentist about synthetic saliva options.
See Your Dentist Regularly
Above all else, it's important to see your dentist regularly, especially if you're taking antacids. This ensures that if your teeth or gums do start to deteriorate, a professional can catch the problem early enough to treat it before it results in any bone loss. If you're interested in discontinuing antacid use (whether you're trying to avoid dental side effects or for any other reason), a dentist can also offer you additional advice on how to mitigate the harmful effects that acid reflux can have on your oral health.