Gastroesophageal Reflux Linked to Tooth Surface Loss

Patients with GERD have significantly higher volume loss per tooth than controls

TUESDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- Tooth surface loss is significantly greater in individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) than in controls, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Daranee Tantbirojn, D.D.S., Ph.D., from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study to evaluate tooth surface loss associated with GERD. At baseline and six months, dental impressions were obtained from 12 participants with GERD and six controls, and the tooth surfaces of these replicas were digitized using an optical scanner. The volume of tooth surface loss was characterized as noncontact erosion or erosion/attrition.

The researchers found that the mean volume loss per tooth was 0.18 mm³ in participants with GERD and 0.06 mm³ in controls (P < 0.013). Characteristics of erosion were seen in nine participants with GERD, including noncontact erosion in three and erosion/attrition in eight participants.

"Clinicians should be aware that tooth surface loss in patients with active acid reflux can progress rapidly," the authors write. "If the tooth surface loss is the result of acid reflux, the practitioner should advise the patient to see his or her family physician or internist for diagnosis and treatment of GERD or of another illness related to acid regurgitation. In addition, dental practitioners should educate their patients about the damage that acid refluxate can cause to their teeth."

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