Driving awareness of Erosive Tooth Wear

Academics at King’s College London’s Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences together with leaders of the Erosive Tooth Wear Foundation and GSK launched a joint campaign to drive awareness of Erosive Tooth Wear (ETW).

KCL erosive tooth wearDespite being the third most commonly observed oral condition, affecting up to 30% of European adults and not requiring a drill to fix, UK research shows that ETW is currently not routinely screened, or monitored, as part of the standard dental examination.

Erosive Tooth Wear occurs when the outer layer (enamel) of the tooth slowly dissolves. This can lead to changes in the shape or appearance of teeth, and they may become sensitive when eating or drinking cold food and drink. At its worst, the tooth structure can gradually wear away.

The group of leading UK dental bodies set on tackling this issue includes the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK), British Society of Dental Hygienists and Therapists, Dental Protection Society, GSK, the makers of Pronamel, and clinical academics from King’s College London’s Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences.

These leading experts are calling on the dental profession to use the basic erosive wear examination (BEWE) alongside the basic gum disease examination as part of every oral assessment to prompt early identification and prevention. As it follows the same approach as the gum disease examination, an erosive tooth wear check can be conducted at the same time, therefore requiring little additional clinical time.

Although the condition may have a slow rate of progression, the impact on aesthetics and function, as well as the financial implication of restoration, can be significant. According to a study by O’Toole et al., costs could be up to £31,000 for private treatment and the average treatment took 21 months.

Reports show that the rise in snacking culture on fresh fruit and fruit juices increased the risk of developing ETW by 12 times, especially when they are consumed outside of meals.

Professor David Bartlett, Head of Prosthodontics and Graduate Training at King’s College London’s Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences comments:

ETW is the third most common dental condition and prevalence is increasing, but it’s not routinely identified. The basic erosive tooth wear examination was designed specifically for use in general dental practice, it is a simple tool to use and will screen for the condition and prompt preventative discussions with patients.

Dr Saoirse O’Toole, Clinical Lecturer in Prosthodontics at King’s College London’s Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences comments:

Often when patients are referred to the hospital for treatment, it is because early signs may not have been identified and changes to behaviour have not been discussed with patients. Simple advice, such as limiting the number of acidic drinks you have and switching when you have them to mealtimes may make a real difference in reducing patient risk.

Read more on the King’s College London website.

The King’s Health Partners Dental Clinical Academic Group provides dental care for more than 300,000 patients each year at more than 30 sites across London.