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Definitely yes! If you have chronic heartburn, sometimes known as GERD or acid reflux, not only may you be burning your esophagus with stomach acid, there may be just enough of it ending up in your mouth to cause your teeth to slowly dissolve. What happens with this disease is that the stomach contents, including acid, leak into the esophagus and often work their way back up into the mouth, causing burning pain. Occasionally reflux is painless, but it still can cause problems.

Sometimes the acid is strong enough to melt the tooth away directly, or just soften the tooth surface which is slowly worn down, layer by layer. This acid erosion can look like simple tooth wear, but often the edges of an eroded tooth are more sharp, cratered, or cupped than tooth wear caused by other factors like clenching or grinding.

Our best advice is to never brush your teeth immediately after an episode of heartburn or reflux because you may brush away a little part of your softened tooth. Instead you want to buffer the acid by simply removing it with water swishing, or use a mouthwash containing fluoride, or even sucking on sugar-free mints to stimulate your natural saliva production.

If you’re concerned that acid erosion may be damaging your teeth, be sure to let us know so that we can evaluate them and offer you a best course for prevention or possibly even treatment.