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Monogr Oral Sci. 2006;20:88-99.

Biological factors.

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Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indianapolis, IN 46202-2876, USA.


Biological factors such as saliva, acquired dental pellicle, tooth structure and positioning in relation to soft tissues and tongue are related to dental erosion development. Saliva has been shown to be the most important biological factor in the prevention of dental erosion. It starts acting even before the acid attack, with the increase of the salivary flow rate as a response to the acidic stimuli. This creates a favorable scenario, increasing the buffering system of saliva and effectively diluting and clearing acids on dental surfaces during the erosive challenge. Saliva plays a role in the formation of the acquired dental pellicle, which acts as a perm-selective membrane preventing contact of the acid with the tooth surfaces. The protective level of the pellicle seems to be regulated by its composition, thickness and maturation time. Due to its mineral content, saliva can also prevent demineralization as well as enhance remineralization. However, these preventive and reparative factors of saliva may not be enough against highly erosive challenges, leading to erosion development. The progress rate of erosion can be significantly influenced by the type of dental substrate, occurrence of mechanical and chemical attacks, fluoride exposure, and also by contact with the oral soft tissues and tongue.

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