Aim of this in vitro study was to investigate erosive tooth loss in dependence of the enamel surface structure and presence of an acquired pellicle.
Enamel specimens from 19 bovine incisors (4 specimens/incisor) were allocated to four experimental groups (n = 19). The surfaces of half of the specimens were polished (two groups), while the other half was left native (two groups). Specimens of one polished and one native group were placed in pooled human saliva (30 min) for the formation of an acquired pellicle. Thereafter, all specimens were demineralized by superfusion with hydrochloric acid (17 min, pH 2.3) with collection of the superfluent. Erosive substance loss was determined by measuring the dissolved calcium content using a colorimetric assay with Arsenazo III reagent. Differences in erosive substance loss were statistically analyzed with respect to enamel surface and pellicle. A linear mixed effects model was fitted to the data and pairwise differences between groups were evaluated (significance level α= 0.05).
Enamel surface structure (p < 0.001) and presence of pellicle (p = 0.01) had a significant effect on erosive substance loss. Polished surfaces with pellicle showed the lowest cumulative calcium release [nmol Ca/mm] (means ± standard deviation: 48+/-5), followed by polished specimens without (51+/-9) and native specimens with pellicle (54+/-10). No significant differences were found between these groups. Highest cumulative calcium release was found for native specimens without pellicle (61+/-9; p < 0.05).
Both enamel surface structure and the acquired pellicle are important determinants of the susceptibility to erosive tooth loss.

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