At first it may seem that heartburn has nothing to do with your teeth. After all, the burning sensation is in your chest, not your mouth. However, repeated instances of heartburn can actually cause erosion and staining of the teeth.
When your stomach produces a large amount of acid in order to digest a hard-to-digest meal, it can sometimes make its way up the esophagus and into the mouth. The stomach acids are powerful and can cause a burning sensation in the esophagus, which is felt as pain in the chest.
This rising of the stomach acid up the esophagus is a condition known as acid reflux. When this condition is chronic, it is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD for short). Once the condition is chronic, it can cause damage to the teeth. The constant acid rising into the mouth from the stomach erodes the tooth enamel at an alarming rate.
In addition to getting treated for GERD, people suffering from the disease should consider avoiding brushing their teeth right after an episode of heartburn. Brushing while the enamel is weakened from the acid will wear it away even worse than the acid alone would.
How can you reduce the chance of heartburn? In addition to avoiding fatty foods, chewing sugarless gum after a big meal has been shown to reduce acid levels in the esophagus. In addition, it can stimulate the production of saliva to neutralize the acid in the mouth and remineralize the tooth enamel!