Tooth wear: diet analysis and advice

Int Dent J. 2005 Apr;55(2):68-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1875-595x.2005.tb00036.x.


Diet analysis and advice for patients with tooth wear is potentially the most logical intervention to arrest attrition, erosion and abrasion. It is saliva that protects the teeth against corrosion by the acids which soften enamel and make it susceptible to wear. Thus the lifestyles and diet of patients at risk need to be analysed for sources of acid and reasons for lost salivary protection. Medical conditions which put patients at risk of tooth wear are principally: asthma, bulimia nervosa, caffeine addiction, diabetes mellitus, exercise dehydration, functional depression, gastroesophageal reflux in alcoholism, hypertension and syndromes with salivary hypofunction. The sources of acid are various, but loss of salivary protection is the common theme. In healthy young Australians, soft drinks are the main source of acid, and exercise dehydration the main reason for loss of salivary protection. In the medically compromised, diet acids and gastroesophageal reflux are the sources, but medications are the main reasons for lost salivary protection. Diet advice for patients with tooth wear must: promote a healthy lifestyle and diet strategy that conserves the teeth by natural means of salivary stimulation; and address the specific needs of the patients' oral and medical conditions. Individualised, patient-empowering erosion WATCH strategies; on Water, Acid, Taste, Calcium and Health, are urgently required to combat the emerging epidemic of tooth wear currently being experienced in westernised societies.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects
  • Antioxidants / adverse effects
  • Ascorbic Acid / adverse effects
  • Australia
  • Calcium / therapeutic use
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects
  • Cariostatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drinking Behavior
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Tooth Abrasion / chemically induced
  • Tooth Abrasion / prevention & control*
  • Tooth Attrition / chemically induced
  • Tooth Attrition / prevention & control*
  • Tooth Erosion / chemically induced
  • Tooth Erosion / prevention & control*
  • Water


  • Antioxidants
  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Water
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Calcium