Saliva proteins may protect against erosive tooth wear





Erosive tooth wear is the loss or wear of dental hard structure caused by acids not originated from bacteria.









These acids may be related to vomiting or acid reflux, or acidic diets.




Soft drinks such as carbonated sodas and sports drinks are the main reasons explaining erosive tooth wear.




A new study on protein profiles in saliva show unexpected promise. The results point to the possibility that the presence of certain proteins can protect against erosive tooth wear.

– We wanted to see if protein profiles in saliva could be used to determine risk and severity of erosive tooth wear, Aida Mulic says, adding; we did not expect conclusive results.

Senior scientist Mulic, and her colleagues, performed three types of saliva sampling, by obtaining saliva from 34 healthy 18-year-olds. The saliva collected sourced from the parotid gland, the stimulated and unstimulated whole saliva.

– We also registered clinical status of the dentition among the adolescents. Information about the risk factor related to erosive tooth wear was obtained by a questionnaire, Mulic says.

Protein profiles

The scientists used electrophoresis to determine protein profiles in the saliva, and calculated molecular weight in relationship to the total amount of protein in the sample. To test for association with erosive wear status, they repeated the process for each protein.

– While we did not find any difference in the number of detectable proteins sourced from the three types of saliva sampling, we did find something interesting, Mulic says.

Five cases

Five out of the 34 individuals had no signs of erosive tooth wear despite an acidic diet. They were also more likely to have proteins with a specific molecular weight (Smaller than 1 KDa, p=0. 03).

– This indicates that protein profiling in saliva may provide a tool for determining risk for erosive wear, Mulic says.

Such a tool may be especially valuable when determining lifetime risks for loss of dental structure.

– If we could identify the risk at an early stage, the proper strategies for each individual could be implemented, Mulic says.

 Pictured: Erosive wear on a lower molar.

Protein profiles of individuals with erosive tooth wear.
Mulic A, Tveit AB, Vieira NM, Limesand K, Vieira AR.
Pesqui Bras Odontopediatria Clin Integr Pesqui Bras Odontopediatria Clin Integr. 2020; 20:e0026.

NIOM Newsletter September 2020