Influence of Intrinsic Factors on Erosive Tooth Wear in a Large-Scale Epidemiological Study

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To assess the influence of self-reported intrinsic factors [gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), long-term alcoholism, long-term heavy use of alcohol and multiple pregnancies] on erosive tooth wear in a middle-aged cohort sample.

Materials and Methods:

Of the total Northern Finland Birth Cohort (NFBC 1966), a convenience sample (n = 3,181) was invited for an oral health examination in 2012-2013, of which 1,962 participated, comprising the final study group. Erosive tooth wear was assessed by sextants using the Basic Erosive Wear Examination Index (BEWE, 0-18). Clinical data were supplemented by questionnaires conducted in 1997/1998 and 2012/2013. The participants were divided into severe (BEWE sum ≥9) and no-to-moderate (BEWE sum 0-8) erosive wear groups, and the logistic regression model was applied.


Selected intrinsic factors were quite rare in this cohort sample and explained only 5.9% of the difference in the prevalence and severity of erosive wear. Daily symptoms of GERD [odds ratio (OR) 3.8, confidence interval (CI) 1.2-12.0] and hyposalivation (OR 3.8, CI 1.2-11.8) were the strongest risk indicators for severe erosive wear. Additionally, variables associated with an elevated risk for severe erosive wear were diagnosed alcoholism at any point (OR 2.5, CI 0.7-9.7) and self-reported heavy use of alcohol in both questionnaires (OR 2.0, CI 0.6-6.2). Even low-dose long-term consumption of alcohol was associated with erosive wear.


In this cohort sample, intrinsic factors such as GERD or alcoholism alone are relatively uncommon causes of erosive tooth wear. The role of long-term use of alcohol in the erosion process may be bigger than presumed.

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