Acid Erosion: A Growing Concern With Lasting Effects
Acid erosion is a uniquely modern condition that is on the rise. Incidence of acid erosion has increased since 2001, with one study indicating that half of dentistry professionals had seen worsening rates in a 5-year time frame.1
Demineralization and Remineralization: A Dynamic Cycle2-4
How Enamel Is Affected by Acid Erosion
Enamel undergoes natural dynamic cycles of remineralization and demineralization, normally favoring remineralization due to mineral-rich saliva, which helps neutralize acidity and reharden enamel.
However, exposure to gastric or dietary acids can demineralize and soften enamel, causing it to lose some of its mineral content. Because the tooth’s recovery process is slow, if the acid attack happens frequently, the enamel does not have a chance to repair itself.
Everyday Behaviors That Put Enamel at Risk
The incidence of acid erosion is on the rise, with 89% of American adults at risk.5 Recognizing early forms of erosion may be difficult, so discussing specific lifestyle habits with patients at risk of developing acid erosion can help proactively identify it.
These risk factors include6-8:
- Holding or “swishing” acidic drinks in your mouth
- Snacking frequently
- Consuming high levels of acidic fruits and juices
- Eating disorders
- Gastric reflux
1. GSK. Dental-Professional.com. https://dental-professional.com/Conditions/Acid-Erosion.html. Published 2016. Accessed July 12, 2017.
2. Lussi A, et al. The role of diet in the aetiology of dental erosion. Caries Res. 2004;38(suppl 1):34–44.
3. Zero D. Erosion—chemical and biological factors of importance to the dental practitioner. Int Dent J. 2005;55:285–290.
4. GSK DOF 133333.
5. GSK DOF: A View Through Our Consumer’s Lens. August 2014.
6. Barlett D. The role of erosion in tooth wear: aetiology, prevention and management. Int Dent J. 2005;55:277–284.
7. Sebastian R, et al. MyPyramid intakes and snacking patterns of US adults: what we eat in America. NHANES 2007-2008. Food Surveys Research Group Dietary Data Brief No. 5. June 2011.
8. Lussi A. Dental erosion: clinical diagnosis and case history taking. Eur J Oral Sci. 1996;104:191–198.