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  Tooth Abrasion and Erosion  

Tooth wear that is non-carious in nature and caused by different factors is called tooth abrasion and erosion. Erosion is the most common tooth wear while sometimes aggravated by other forms of tooth wear. Chewing of pipe stems and brushing of teeth is thought to be the causes of tooth wear. People experiencing gastric, anorexia and bulimia or people with abnormal diets are usually most affected by erosion. Occupations may also cause erosion; it affects people who are exposed to acidic fumes. Wine tasters are also common victims.

Because of high consumption of carbonated drinks, there is a constant raise of erosion in youngsters in the past 10 to 15 years. Erosion has not received sufficient awareness like any other non-carious dental problems.

Diagnosis of tooth abrasion - erosion

Initially, the presence of tooth wear must be known and then rated for its severity. Then, the factors should be determined. Next, the needed treatment must be done and the development monitored to evaluate the effects of the treatment. It should be kept in mind that there are tooth wear conditions that cannot be categorized as either abrasion or erosion. Abrasion and erosion can only be identified by dental assessment. After the examination, the location of the tooth wear has to be determined.

Causes of tooth abrasion - erosion

Normally, tooth wear is caused by frictional forces or acids, or both. While it is easily detected, the determination of its cause is difficult. Clinical experience, assessment of worn out surface, restorations focusing among the enamel, loss of vertical dimension and pattern of tooth wear are the basis on the process of detection.

Tooth wear is seen on the palatal area of the maxillary and maxillary front teeth, and the buccal surface of mandibular molars indicates gastric acid as cause of the erosion. Step-like erosion on the palatal of the maxillary front teeth is developed from loss of vertical dimension which is caused by occlusal enamel loss. It is necessary that the nature of the patient’s diet be determined. Regular intake of soft drinks, fruit juices and other food products may result to erosion. Other contributors include effervescent medications, asthma inhalers and improper brushing. Function of the saliva glands must be also checked, because saliva increases the resistance of the enamel.

To be able to determine the state of the tooth wear that the patient is experiencing, it is necessary to know the cause especially anorexia and bulimia are involved. It is also necessary not to blame the patient for the clinical results or an incorrect history may be obtained. Particularly when the cost is involved, or when the patient is not willing to confess certain illnesses.

Prevention of tooth abrasion - erosion

Since restoration is costly, tooth wear prevention is a good option for most cases. It is harder to prevent tooth wear since it is not easy to foresee. Hence one can only start preventing when tooth wear has occurred. Nevertheless, it is targeted largely at only arresting further tooth wear.

Tooth wear is now considered as a problem of society as an individual problem. Yet, population-based strategies may not be as effective for tooth wear as they have been on dental caries. Other strategies should be used in dealing with tooth wear caused by cultural and environmental reasons. Educating the community may be considered in changing or reducing of responsible food products. Still, the aimed population of youths, who are usually the major consumer of these beverages, may not be influenced by such approach, owing to the fact that these signature beverages are a proclamation of their lifestyle.

Strategies are more concentrated individually at present prevention. Abrasion is also individual-based. However, erosion is related to diet, so population based strategies may help in this case. Yet, only a number of population-based strategies in tooth wear have been a success.

Since the addition of fluoride has been successful in preventing caries, it is also attempted to add fluoride in different beverages to prevent tooth wear. Fluoride is reported to be able to lessen the corrosive effect of sports beverages. However, further research concluded that fluoride has minimal effect.

Even population strategies have not flourished in tooth wear, like strategy concerning change of erosive beverages, medicines and food remains the only choice in tackling the ascending cases of tooth wear among the youngsters. Support of the manufacturers and the consumers is highly needed. lack of support resulted to the failure of calcium lactate which can reduce the corrosive potential of Coca-cola when added to the drink.

The patient may avoid costly restorative treatments by removing of causes, simple dental treatments and close monitoring that diagnosis is being followed.

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