Preliminary Assessment of Risk Factors for Tooth Wear

DOI: 10.1515/jim-2017-0073


Background: Epidemiological studies have reported an increasing prevalence of tooth wear, and general dental practitioners see a greater number of patients seeking treatment with worn dentition. Improper oral hygiene, unhealthy habits, occupational hazards, and potentially erosive processed foods seem to play a major role in the non-carious loss of dental hard tissue. The aim of this study is to assess the factors and cofactors that may play a major role in the genesis of dental attrition, dental abrasion, and, especially, dental erosion. Material and methods: Seventy-nine consecutive patients, aged between 17 and 78 years, have enrolled in our study, completing a questionnaire regarding chronic illnesses, eating habits, and dental hygiene, followed by a dental clinical examination. Results: The male-female ratio was 1.4:1, with a mean age of 35.6 years. Forty-four (55.7%) patients presented objective signs of tooth wear. Regarding oral hygiene habits, the use of a hard toothbrush is linked to increased tooth wear, while brushing in a circular motion seems to be the least abrasive. We found a considerable prevalence of bruxism (19%), which led to severe generalized attrition in almost half of such patients. The most popular drinks with erosive potential were coffee (58.2%), soft drinks (57%), and tea (24.1%), and extrinsic erosion was more frequent in patients younger than 30 years. Understandably, physiological tooth wear was more common in older patients. The questionnaire revealed that over 60% of patients have inaccurate knowledge of tooth wear. Conclusions: Tooth wear is partially a progressive physiological process. Unfortunately, we see it increasing in younger patients due to pathological influencing factors. These include improper tooth brushing technique and materials, bruxism, dental prosthesis, dietary habits. Primordial and primary prevention is the key to reducing morbidity, health education being an essential part of it.