Risk assessment and preventive measures

Monogr Oral Sci. 2006;20:190-199. doi: 10.1159/000093363.


A prerequisite for preventive measures is to diagnose erosive tooth wear and to evaluate the different etiological factors in order to identify persons at risk. No diagnostic device is available for the assessment of erosive defects. Thus, they can only be detected clinically. Consequently, erosion not diagnosed in the early stage may render timely preventive measures difficult. In order to assess the risk factors, patient should record their dietary intake for a distinct period of time. Then a dentist can determine the erosive potential of the diet. Particularly, patients with more than four dietary acid intakes have a higher risk for erosion when other risk factors (such as holding the drink in the mouth) are present. Regurgitation of gastric acids (reflux, vomiting, alcohol abuse, etc.) is a further important risk factor for the development of erosion which has to be taken into account. Based on these analyses, an individually tailored preventive program may be suggested to the patients. It may comprise dietary advice, optimization of fluoride regimes, stimulation of salivary flow rate, use of buffering medicaments and particular motivation for nondestructive toothbrushing habits with a low abrasive toothpaste. The frequent use of fluoride gel and fluoride solution in addition to fluoride toothpaste offers the opportunity to reduce somewhat abrasion of tooth substance. It is also advisable to avoid abrasive tooth cleaning and whitening products, since they may remove the pellicle and may render teeth more susceptible to erosion. Since erosion, attrition and abrasion often occur simultaneously all causative components must be taken into consideration when planning preventive strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Acids
  • Buffers
  • Counseling
  • Drinking Behavior
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Fluorides, Topical / therapeutic use
  • Gastric Acid
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Secretory Rate
  • Tooth Erosion / etiology*
  • Tooth Erosion / prevention & control
  • Toothbrushing / methods
  • Toothpastes / therapeutic use


  • Acids
  • Buffers
  • Fluorides, Topical
  • Toothpastes