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Keywords:

  • collaborative management;
  • dental erosion;
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease;
  • prevention

Abstract

Numerous case-control and other studies involving confirmation of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by esophageal pH-metry and the assessment of dental erosions have shown significant associations between the two conditions in both adults and children. By contrast, when asked to vote on whether GERD may cause dental erosions, only 42% of physicians strongly agreed that such an association existed in adults, and just 12.5% strongly agreed for children, respectively in two global consensus reports. Part of this divergence between the perceptions of physicians and the findings of research publications may reflect a general lack of oral health education during medical training, and cursory oral examinations being made under less-than-ideal conditions. Adequate salivary secretions are essential for the protection of the teeth and the oropharyngeal and esophageal mucosa. The quantity and quality of the saliva require monitoring as many drugs, including several of the proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), can cause hyposalivation. In addition, PPIs do not always result in adequate acid suppression. Therefore, collaboration between physicians and dentists is strongly advocated to prevent or ameliorate possible adverse oral effects from both endogenous and exogenous acids, and to promote adequate saliva production in patients with GERD.