Dental erosive wear is common among adolescents.

Dental erosive wear – a growing problem in the Nordic countries

Aida Mulic
Senior Scientist

NIOM Scientist and dentist, Aida Mulic is a co-author of a recently published Norwegian study that examines the prevalence and severity of dental erosive wear in 16-year-old adolescents in the County of Troms in northern Norway. The data analysed in the study indicated both wide prevalence and high severity of dental erosion among adolescents. The authors stress the importance of information, early and effective diagnostics and implementation of prevention strategies. Despite the wide methodological variations between studies of prevalence that prevent direct comparisons, there are indications that dental erosive wear is relatively common among children and adolescents throughout the Nordic countries.

Prevalence of dental erosions in the examined population (n=392), divided into individuals without erosions, with only enamel- or dentine erosions.

Caries down, erosive wear up; blame acidic drinks

As the incidence of caries has decreased across the Western world, focus has shifted towards an apparent increase in prevalence of dental erosive wear. Several recent studies investigating the prevalence of dental erosion in the Nordic countries have reported that dental erosive wear is a growing problem among children, adolescents and adults.  One suggested reason is that the consumption of acidic drinks – thought to be one of the most important factors leading to dental erosive wear – has increased greatly over the past decades.

The occlusal surfaces of the lower first molars, and the palatal surfaces of the maxillary incisors  were the most often and most severely affected.


  • More than one third (38%) of the adolescents had dental erosive wear on at least one tooth surface, limited to the enamel for 18% and  extending into the dentine for 20% of the participants.
  • The occlusal surfaces of the lower first molars, and the palatal surfaces of the maxillary incisors were the most often and most severely affected.
  • Of the participants showing dental erosion, 93% exhibited “cuppings” on the molars, with 48% limited to the enamel and 52% extending into the dentine.
  • The highest prevalence of “cuppings” (73%) was found on the first lower molars, especially on the mesiobuccal cusp.
  • The prevalence and severity of dental erosion was found to be higher in male than in female participants.


Prevalence and severity among 16-year-old adolescents in Troms, Norway.
Mulic A, Fredriksen Ø, Jacobsen ID, Tveit AB, Espelid I, Crossner CG.
Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2016 Sep;17(3):197-201.

Erosive tannslitasjer: Forekomst og alvorlighetsgrad blant 16-åringer i Troms.
Ø. Fredriksen, ID. Jacobsen, AB. Tveit, I. Espelid, CG. Crossner, A. Mulic.
Nor Tannlegeforen Tid 2017; 127: 600—5