Tooth wear has hit the headlines at an almost unprecedent level, thanks to the efforts of a team at King’s College London, whose study into sipping acidic drinks such as fruit teas and flavoured water has shown they can damage the enamel.1
Commenting on the research, Professor Andrew Eder, a Specialist in Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics and Clinical Director of the London Tooth Wear Centre®, said, ‘This will come as little, if any surprise, to dentists. However, the fact that it has brought the issue into the public eye via media outlets such as the BBC2 and the Daily Mail3 is potentially of great benefit to the oral health of the nation, if dental teams can capitalise on this raised awareness in a timely manner.
‘It is an easy enough topic to bring up in conversation and may open up a further discussion about what patients can do to minimise such damage to the teeth. A suggested in the British Dental Journal article, asking a number of carefully framed questions may help to ascertain the extent of any given patient’s susceptibility to erosion.’
In this regard, O’Toole and Mullan suggest asking the following questions:
1. How many dietary acids are being consumed daily, including fruits, anything with a fruit flavouring, acidic drinks, acidic sweets and medications?
2. How many of these are between meals?
3. Is greater than 10 minutes being spent consuming any dietary acid at a single sitting?
4. Do they sip, swish, hold or rinse the dietary acid in their mouths prior to swallowing?
5. Do they consume dietary acids at an increased temperature, e.g. hot water with lemon, stewed fruits, fruit teas?1
If you consider that a patient may benefit from prevention-led intervention, simple steps that may help include:
• Limit the intake of acidic drinks to meal times
• Rinse the mouth with water for 15 to 30 seconds after consuming acidic drinks
• Chew sugarfree gum or eat a piece of cheese after consuming an acidic drink
• Wait at least an hour to brush teeth after consuming any acidic drinks
• Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and a non-abrasive toothbrush to clean the teeth at least twice a day
• Use a fluoridated mouthwash every day at a different time to tooth brushing, as well as before or after acidic drinks, to help limit the erosive potential.
If you are concerned about any of your patients, the London Tooth Wear Centre® offers an evidence-based and comprehensive approach to managing tooth wear, using the latest clinical techniques and an holistic approach in a professional and friendly environment.
For further information on the work of the London Tooth Wear Centre®, please visit www.toothwear.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7486 7180.
1.O’Tooole S, Mullan F. The role of the diet in tooth wear. British Dental Journal 2018: doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.127
2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43141587. Accessed 23 February 2018
3. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5424729/Drinking-trendy-fruit-teas-ruin-smile.html. Accessed 23 February 2018