Scientific background

Aetiology of erosion

Medicines and oral hygiene products can also erode the teeth directly or may lead to erosion indirectly (Hellwig & Lussi 2006).

Drug abuse, lactovegetarianism, some occupations and sports have all been associated with dental erosion (Linkosalo et al. 1985, Lussi & Jaeggi 2006b).

Let’s look at the causes and sources of dental erosion in detail:
Origin
Cause/Source
Description
Examples

Intrinsic
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
Gastric fluids enter the oral cavity

 
Eating disorders
 
Bulimia, anorexia

 
Vomiting, reflux
 
Pregnancy, obesity, alcoholism

Extrinsic
Acidic food and drink
Acid content, acid strength, titratable acidity (buffering capacity)
Soft drinks, citrus fruits, carbonated fizzy
drinks, ice tea, fruit juices, specific alcoholic
drinks (e.g. alcopops, cider, white wine)
and herbal teas, grapes, sour apples, acidic
sweets, vinegar

 
Lactovegetarians
Hyposalivation, frequent consumption of foods with low pH

 
Medicines
Some medicines and therapies may result in dry mouth and/or lead to salivary gland dysfunction
Tranquilisers, anti-histamines, antiemetics, anti-parkinson drugs, beta blockers, oral hypoglycaemic agents and radiotherapy of the head region

 
Sports
Drinking habits and general health of athletes
Gastric reflux due to strenuous exercise, dehydration leading to consumption of soft/isotonic drinks

 
Certain oral hygiene products
Chemical properties can influence erosive processes
pH too low without providing fluoride

 
Drug abuse
Dry mouth, dehydration and excessive consumption of soft drinks
Ecstasy consumption

In order to identify dental erosion at an early stage, it is helpful to review patients’ general anamnesis from time to time.