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:

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

Eating disorders
Bulimia, anorexia

Vomiting, reflux
Pregnancy, obesity, alcoholism

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

Hyposalivation, frequent consumption of foods with low pH

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

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.