Dental erosion develops from the chronic exposure to non-bacterial acids resulting in bulk mineral loss with a partly demineralised surface of reduced micro-hardness. Clinical features are loss of surface structures with shallow lesions on smooth surfaces and cupping and flattening of cusps; already in early stages, coronal dentine often is exposed. Not only enamel, but also dentine is therefore an important target tissue for anti-erosion strategies. The main goal of active ingredients against erosion is to increase the acid resistance of tooth surfaces or pellicles. The challenge with toothpastes is that abrasives, otherwise beneficial in terms of cleaning properties, may counteract the effects of active ingredients. Fluoride toothpastes offer a degree of protection, but in order to design more effective formulations, active ingredients in addition to, or other than, fluorides have been suggested. Polyvalent metal cations, Ca/P salts in nano-form, phosphates, proteins, and various biopolymers, e.g. chitosan, are substances under study. The complex combined action of active ingredients and abrasives on the dental hard tissues, and the role of excipients of complex toothpaste formulations are not yet fully understood. Current evidence is flawed by the diversity of experimental designs, and there is no knowledge from clinical studies with patients so far. However, research results indicate that there is potential to develop effective toothpastes in this field. As the prevalence of initial erosive lesions particularly in younger age groups is high in some countries, such strategies would be of great importance for maintaining oral health.
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