Dental erosion is defined as tooth wear that occurs because of dissolution of the dental hard tissues by acids when bacteria are not involved. The severity of erosion is related to factors such as chemical properties of the erosive medium, the frequency and the method of contact between the acid and the tooth.
The acids that cause dental erosion may come from an external or an internal origin. Acids from diets are the most important external factor for dental erosion. Particularly, dental erosion by acidic soft drinks has been the subject of many studies conducted. A soft drinks erosive potential depends on the chemical parameters such as the pH, calcium and phosphate concentration. When the teeth are exposed to an acidic medium, it results in an irreversible loss of the enamel from the tooth surface.
Erosion brings about dentine sensitivity. Researchers have suggested that sensitivity is a clinical sign of acid erosion because it does not occur in patients with poor oral hygiene. Acid erosion is not caused by micro organisms, however, it is caused by the action of dietary/ gastric acids dissolving tooth surfaces. There is evidence that dentine sensitivity is a feature of clean tooth surfaces. The acids remove the layer which opens the dentinal tubules to the oral environment inducing sensitivity.
A modification of the diet is a good way of preventing abrasion of the enamel. Frequent consumption of acidic foods increases the chances of having an erosive tooth wear. To understand the role of refined carbohydrates in dental caries, the evidence must be based on assimilating clinical reports, case reports and lab investigations. Behavior modification is the most effective way of preventing an erosive tooth wear.
Evidence suggest that calcium- based products have the ability to prevent an erosive tooth wear. High concentration of calcium and phosphate maintains a high concentration of calcium and phosphate ion to promote remineralization of the enamel. Further studies indicate that the calcium phosphate may be absorbed into the salivary pellicle and plaque and so they provide a rich source of calcium reservoir thus improving remineralization.
Dietary acids are recognized as the biggest contributors of teeth wear. Bonding of the dentine and use of fluorides make the teeth resist erosion by acidic attacks but it is advisable to adopt healthy diets as they are most effective in prevention of abrasion.