Dental & Oral Health

How to Prevent Dental Erosion?

Written by Dr. Nivedita Dalmia and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.


What is Dental Erosion?

  • Gradual dissolution of dental hard tissue by acids is termed as dental erosion.
  • It is an irreversible loss of tooth structure.

Difference Between Erosion, Abrasion and Attrition:

  • Erosion - Chemical wear of the tooth structure by extrinsic/intrinsic acids.
  • Abrasion - Physical wear of the tooth structure due to extrinsic mechanical process, for example - tooth wear due to inadvertent brushing habits.
  • Attrition - Physical wear of the tooth structure due to intrinsic mechanical process like excessive or abnormal forces from the opposite tooth.

Prevalence and Incidence of Tooth Erosion:

High prevalence is observed in children and high incidence is seen in adolescents.

What Causes Erosion?

  • Extrinsic acids - Mostly the extrinsic acids causing dental erosion are contributed by acidic medications and dietary components such as acidic beverages and foods (for example: colas, juices, soda, alcohol below ph 4).
  • Intrinsic acids- Backflow of gastric juice from the stomach occurs in diseases such as Gastroesophareal Reflux Disease (GERD), bulimia and rumination (regurgitation), thereby leading to dental erosion.
  • Teeth with diminished acid resistance, including developmental deficiencies and hypomineralization as in dental fluorosis are more prone to dental erosion by acids.
  • The buffering capacity of saliva neutralizes the acids thereby preventing erosion. But, in cases of reduced salivary flow rate, there is inadequate buffering action of saliva leading to dental erosion.

Changes in the Tooth Structure caused by Erosion:

  • Occlusal surfaces - These are the biting or grinding surfaces of the back (posterior) teeth. These surfaces show shallow and localised dimpling and exposed dentin (inner layer of the tooth). Loss of occlusal morphology is also seen in advanced stages.
  • Labial surfaces - These are smooth and flat surfaces of the front teeth seen while talking and smiling. Shallow enamel defects are seen on these surfaces.
  • Palatal and lingual surfaces - These are the innerside of the upper and lower teeth where the tongue touches, at rest position. Broad based lesions and exposed dentin are seen. Flattening and loss of contour of the teeth occurs in advanced stages.
  • Insical edges - Tips of the upper and lower front teeth are called the incisal edges. Insical grooving of the affected tooth is seen.

How to Prevent Dental Erosion?

  • Avoid or at least reduce the dietary intake of acidic beverages.
  • Adopt the drinking methods that limit acid contact with teeth (use straw, gulp down and do not swish around).
  • Avoid misuse of acidic medication including vitamin C.
  • Use proper protection to minimize occupational hazards.
  • Clinical interventions - Treat the underlying medical conditions like GERD, bulimia, etc. Get treated for reduced salivation. Increase the acid resistance of teeth by flouride therapy (varnish, mouthwash, topical gel, toothpaste).

Treatment for Eroded Teeth:

  • Restoration of the tooth structure with crown (tooth cap) or veneer.
  • In severely eroded teeth, Root Canal Treatment (RCT) may be needed, followed by restoration of the tooth structure with crown.

Do you have sensitive teeth? It might be due to dental erosion. Consult a dentist online -->

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



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