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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Jun;27(12):1179-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03694.x. Epub 2008 Mar 27.

Systematic review: gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and dental lesions.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Clinical Sciences "L. Sacco", University of Milan, Milan, Italy.



Dental erosion (DE), which is the irreversible loss of tooth substance that does not involve bacteria ranging from a minimal loss of surface enamel to the partial or complete exposure of dentine by a chemical process, is acknowledged as an established extra-oesophageal manifestation of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, the real impact of GERD in the genesis of this lesion remains unclear.


To review the existing literature to assess the relationship between DE and GERD.


Studies that assessed the prevalence of DE in individuals with GERD or vice versa were identified in Medline and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register via a systematic research strategy.


Seventeen studies met the selection criteria. Studies, however, differed greatly as far as design, population methods of diagnosing GERD, duration of follow-up and, consequently, findings. The median prevalence of DE in GERD patients was 24%, with a large range (5-47.5%), and the median prevalence of GERD in DE adults patients was 32.5% (range: 21-83%) and in paediatric population 17% (range: 14-87%). Children with GERD are found by a majority of studies at increased risk of developing DEs in comparison with healthy subjects, as are intellectually disabled people.


This systematic review shows that there is a strong association between GERD and DE. The severity of DEs seems to be correlated with the presence of GERD symptoms, and also, at least in adults, with the severity of proximal oesophageal or oral exposure to an acidic pH. The inspection of the oral cavity in search for DEs should become a routine manoeuvre in patients with GERD.

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