Oral symptoms including dental erosion in gastroesophageal reflux disease are associated with decreased salivary flow volume and swallowing function

J Gastroenterol. 2012 Apr;47(4):412-20. doi: 10.1007/s00535-011-0515-6. Epub 2011 Dec 27.


Background: This preliminary clinical study aimed to evaluate the effects of salivary flow volume and swallowing function on oral symptoms including dental erosion in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Methods: The subjects were 40 GERD patients and 30 (15 younger, 15 older) healthy controls. Detailed medical, dietary, and dental histories were obtained to identify individual behavioral habits potentially associated with dental erosion. Oral examination evaluated dental erosion and determined scores for the decayed, missing, filled (DMF) index, the papillary, marginal, attached (PMA) index for gingivitis, and the Simplified Oral Hygiene Index (OHI-S). Salivary flow volume and swallowing function were evaluated by the Saxon test and repetitive saliva swallowing test, respectively.

Results: The DMF index and OHI-S scores differed significantly between all 3 groups. The PMA index was significantly different between the GERD group and the two control groups. The prevalence of dental erosion was 24.3% in the GERD group (0% in the control groups). No specific relationship was found between the incidence of dental erosion and dietary history or behavioral habits. The Saxon test results were significantly lower in the GERD group than in both the control groups. Frequency of swallowing was significantly lower and time to first swallow was significantly longer in the GERD group than in the two control groups.

Conclusions: Oral symptoms in GERD are likely to be associated with impaired salivary flow volume or swallowing function. Treatment for the oral dryness induced by reduced salivary flow volume and rehabilitation for swallowing function could be indicated in patients with GERD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / complications*
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Oral
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Saliva
  • Tooth Erosion / etiology*
  • Xerostomia / complications*