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Straighter Teeth, Worse Reflux

I've had a goal to write about all the potential causes of acid reflux. I believe that one reason that GERD and LPR patients are still suffering after being "treated" by western medicine is that the causes may vary widely from one individual to the next. Everything is connected and a great many things affect our digestions. From the how, what, when, and why we eat/drink, to injuries, sleep, and certain medications, the causes GERD may be many. And you may even pick up a new one along your way to recovery. I hope my articles will help you find your cause (or causes), at least quicker than I did.

I have written some posts about excessive swallowing of saliva or mucus due to things like tonsilitis, globus sensation, and postnasal drip. The act of swallowing itself relaxes the low esophageal sphincter - The idea is that chronic swallowing throughout the day or night, although it may initially provide a soothing effect by coating the esophagus with saliva, may eventually create more opportunities for reflux. You may also be swallowing air and not know it. The symptoms of aerophagia, a condition of excessive air swallowing, look very similar to those of GERD and include: bloating, chest tightness, nausea, shortness of breath, belching, heartburn, abdominal pain, satiety, and vomiting. "Aerophagia is associated with chewing gum, smoking, drinking carbonated drinks, eating too quickly, anxiety, CPAP air pressure (if it is too high) and wearing loose dentures." - When you first get a retainer, your orthodontist may tell you "You may notice an increased flow of saliva (water in your mouth). This is normal and will decrease as you get used to wearing the retainer..."-

Here is another answer for someone with a concern of excess saliva after getting retainers: "Excessive salivation while having the lingual retainers is very common. Perhaps you don't remember when you first got your braces on, you had excessive saliva until you got used to the braces. The same thing goes for anything new in the mouth. You probably will have the same problem once the lingual retainers are removed and replaced with a removable retainers to wear at night. Once you get used to any new appliance in the mouth, within time you will be good, it is just a matter of getting used to them and know where to place your tongue. Good Luck" Now excessive salivation usually implies excessive swallowing unless you are spitting it out. And my argument is that excessive swallowing/salivating may increase reflux, especially if it happens at night. If you are the type of person that only wears their retainers once every couple of days at night, then your body "perceives it as a foreign object. Your mouth reacts to this foreign object the same way it reacts to a piece of food in your mouth — it increases the flow of saliva." - And wouldn't you agree that food in your mouth in the middle of the night would be a huge trigger for LPR and reflux?

Listen to this story:

"I just got my braces taken off a few weeks ago. I have now started to wear retainers. After wearing them for a while i get reflux. If i continue to keep the retainers in my reflux gets worse and worse. I can't eat with retainers. When i get reflux, that's the first thing i do, take the retainers out and eat something. I can't be doing this as i'm suppost to be wearing the retainers as much as possible day and night for the first two weeks but i keep getting problems. Another one is dry mouth, thirst and dry lips." -

In response, someone replied with:

"I have to wear a mouthguard at night to protect my teeth from grinding and I too get reflux while sleeping. You sometimes have to do what you need to do. I think the reflux is more about the foods you eat as it's coming from the stomach area not your mouth. I wouldn't understand how wearing something could cause that. Perhaps your anxiety is causing you to worry more about it and thus causes reaction in your body"

Well, couldn't excessive salivation during the night cause excessive swallowing, that at the least stimulates a normally slowed down digestive system? If your brain thought that there was some food in your mouth that wasn't breaking down, wouldn't it be trying to digest it (or swallow it)? And yes, anxiety can cause excessive swallowing (among a bunch of other potential GERD causes).

Do you wear a retainer, have braces, or use dentures and have noticed a connection to acid reflux? Please let me know and comment below.

By Hondur - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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