Oral hygiene products and acidic medicines

Monogr Oral Sci. 2006;20:112-118. doi: 10.1159/000093358.


Acidic or EDTA-containing oral hygiene products and acidic medicines have the potential to soften dental hard tissues. The low pH of oral care products increases the chemical stability of some fluoride compounds, favors the incorporation of fluoride ions in the lattice of hydroxyapatite and the precipitation of calcium fluoride on the tooth surface. This layer has some protective effect against an erosive attack. However, when the pH is too low or when no fluoride is present these protecting effects are replaced by direct softening of the tooth surface. Xerostomia or oral dryness can occur as a consequence of medication such as tranquilizers, anti-histamines, anti-emetics and anti-parkinsonian medicaments or of salivary gland dysfunction e.g. due to radiotherapy of the oral cavity and the head and neck region. Above all, these patients should be aware of the potential demineralization effects of oral hygiene products with low pH and high titratable acids. Acetyl salicylic acid taken regularly in the form of multiple chewable tablets or in the form of headache powder as well chewing hydrochloric acids tablets for treatment of stomach disorders can cause erosion. There is most probably no direct association between asthmatic drugs and erosion on the population level. Consumers, patients and health professionals should be aware of the potential of tooth damage not only by oral hygiene products and salivary substitutes but also by chewable and effervescent tablets. Additionally, it can be assumed that patients suffering from xerostomia should be aware of the potential effects of oral hygiene products with low pH and high titratable acids.

MeSH terms

  • Acids
  • Dentifrices / adverse effects*
  • Dosage Forms
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Mouthwashes / adverse effects*
  • Oral Hygiene*
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions / adverse effects
  • Saliva / physiology
  • Tooth / drug effects
  • Tooth Erosion / chemically induced*
  • Tooth Erosion / etiology
  • Xerostomia / complications


  • Acids
  • Dentifrices
  • Dosage Forms
  • Mouthwashes
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions