Cornerstone Dental, Hayden, ID

Acid Reflux, Caffeine & Teeth

A huge problem with our society is acid-reflux; stomach acid coming up during the night that practically melts teeth. I even see this problem with kids. The cause of acid reflux is diet (caffeine, spicy foods, eating before you go to bed) and stress.

Acid reflux and stomach acid are both commonly exacerbated by caffeine. The caffeine tightens skeletal muscle but relaxes smooth muscle. The sphincter from the esophagus to the stomach is smooth muscle. The caffeine also stimulates stomach acid production and opens up the sphincter to the stomach which allows the stomach acid to get into the mouth.

For people who have severe acid erosion, we recommend they get down to only one cup of caffeinated beverage in the morning.

Caffeine has a half life of 5 hours and is longer in peopleover the age of 40 years. If you have two cups of coffee at 8 am, half of the caffeine you had in the morning will be in your system at 1 pm, then half of that will be in your system at 6pm and when you go to bed at night the caffeine remaining in your system can cause the acid reflux.

An average 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 95 milligrams of caffeine. With the example above, you will have around 24 milligrams of caffeine in your system when you go to bed. That assumes that you have no other caffeine drinks during the day. If you have only one cup in the morning, you would have about 12 milligrams at bed time.

People who follow the advice to reduce their caffeine intake may go through a withdrawal period with headaches and muscle pains when they stop drinking caffeinated beverages but invariably, the erosion of their teeth slows down and they often find they sleep better and stop having headaches.