Abstract

Objectives

We investigated the effect of different dietary substances on deciduous and permanent enamel.

Materials and methods

Enamel specimens were prepared from human teeth (n = 108 deciduous molars and n  = 108 permanent premolars). We measured the chemical parameters (pH, titratable acidity, viscosity, calcium, phosphate, fluoride concentration and degree of saturation) of nine dietary substances. The teeth were immersed in the respective substance (2 × 2 min; 30 °C; shaking), and we measured the baseline surface hardness (SH) in Vickers hardness numbers (VHN), and the changes in SH after 2 min (ΔSH2–0) and the 4 min (ΔSH4–0) immersion. We analysed the differences between deciduous and permanent teeth using the Wilcoxon test and correlated ΔSH to the different chemical parameters.

Results

Deciduous teeth were significantly softer (549.53 ± 59.41 VHN) than permanent teeth (590.15 ± 55.31 VHN; p  < 0.001) at baseline, but they were not more vulnerable to erosive demineralization. Only orange juice, which presented milder erosive potential, caused significantly more demineralisation in deciduous teeth at ΔSH4–0. Practically all chemical parameters significantly correlated with ΔSH (p < 0.05). Substances with lower pH, higher titratable acidity, lower Ca, higher Pi and lower F concentrations, higher viscosity and more undersaturated solutions presented more erosive demineralisation.

Conclusion

Different parameters in dietary substances affect erosive demineralisation in deciduous and permanent teeth, but we generally observed no differences in susceptibility to erosion between both types of teeth; only orange juice (less severe acid conditions) caused perceptible differences.

Clinical relevance

We observe that permanent teeth are harder than deciduous teeth, but most substances cause no perceptible difference in erosive demineralisation in both types of teeth.