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J Dent Hyg. 2017 Feb;91(1):44-48.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptom Screening in a Dental Setting.


Purpose: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic health condition in which the symptoms often go unnoticed. Oral problems accompanying GERD may include non-specific burning sensation, mucosa ulceration and erosion, erythema of the soft/hard palate mucosa and uvula, loss of taste and either xerostomia or increased salivary flow with potential long-term complications such as difficulty swallowing, trouble breathing, esophagitis and potential development of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of using a GERD screening in the dental clinic setting to identify and refer patients.Methods: This was a descriptive survey design utilizing a convenience sample of patients (n=227) from two dental hygiene clinics. Students and faculty were calibrated to administer a previously validated, GERD diagnostic screening questionnaire.Results: The prevalence of GERD in the study population was 8.7%; with 10.1% of female reporting symptoms verses 7.0% of male. There were no statistically significant differences in the study population demographics and GERD prevalence.Conclusion: Screening for GERD symptoms should be a routine procedure for oral health care providers, as is oral cancer screening. GERD screening has the potential to identify those at risk and enable referral to medical care in order to decrease the serious complications associated with GERD.


GERD; cancer; complications; heartburn; oral health; screening

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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