Saliva, baking soda can be ways to treat heartburn inexpensively

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Do you have any inexpensive suggestions for treating heartburn? My son suffers from reflux, especially after eating. He has no insurance, so he cannot afford drugs like Nexium or Prevacid. His doctor says that it's not a heart problem or anything serious, but it causes him discomfort.

Researchers have known for almost 30 years that stimulating saliva production by chewing gum or sucking on a lozenge can relieve heartburn. Saliva rinses the esophagus and buffers acid that has splashed out of the stomach. British researchers recently confirmed that chewing sugarless gum for 30 minutes after meals stimulates saliva and eases acid reflux.

Another time-honored remedy is baking soda. One-half teaspoon in 4 ounces of water is the standard dose.

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