Dental erosion as an indicator of gastroesophageal reflux disease

Andrew W. Ellis, Amar Kosaraju, Ryan R. Ruff, Charles B. Miller, James M. Francis, Kraig S. Vandewalle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While evidence shows that dental erosion (DE) is often caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the relationship of DE severity to a patient's symptoms and receipt of appropriate medical treatment for GERD is not clearly understood. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between DE and GERD. Eighty participants underwent a Basic Erosive Wear Examination for DE and completed the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) survey on symptoms of gastrointestinal reflux (PROMIS Scale v1.0, Gastrointestinal Gastroesophageal Reflux 13a) in English. Patients with observed erosive patterns were referred for gastroenterologic evaluation. The association between DE and GERD was assessed using multiple regression. The results showed that the extent of DE was positively associated with GERD symptoms (B = 0.585; 95% CI, 0.21-0.96), as measured by the PROMIS survey, in participants without a current diagnosis of GERD. Of the 80 patients in the study, 28 with more severe DE were evaluated in the gastroenterology department. A diagnosis of GERD was established for 27 of the 28, 9 of whom denied a past history of the disease. Twenty patients with GERD underwent upper endoscopy, and esophageal lesions were found in 6 patients (erosive esophagitis in 5 and Barrett esophagus in 1). Patients with clinically identified DE may benefit from medical evaluation and, if necessary, management of GERD. For a subset of patients, DE may be the only clinical indication of untreated or undertreated GERD, which could lead to serious esophageal changes. Dentists should consider referring patients with DE to primary care providers or gastrointestinal specialists to ensure that systemic conditions are identified and managed appropriately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
JournalGeneral dentistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • Barrett esophagus
  • Basic Erosive Wear Examination
  • Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System
  • dental erosion
  • esophagitis
  • gastroesophageal reflux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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