Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Increases Risk for Dental Erosion in Children

Researchers examined the association between gastroesophageal reflux disease and dental erosion among children.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) increases the risk for dental erosion in children, according to study findings published in Journal of Dentistry.

Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis by searching through databases, including Embase, MEDLINE, Web of Science, Trip Pro, ClinicalTrials.gov, the Cochrane Library, and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform for randomized controlled trials. Of the 99 studies identified, only 13 were included in the systematic review and 12 in the meta-analysis. The pooled data from the meta-analysis characterized dental outcomes in 6774 children with GERD.

Primary teeth in children are more susceptible to enamel and dentine erosion from  GERD because the enamel is thinner compared with permanent teeth.

The researchers primarily analyzed the effects of GERD on dental erosion in enamel in children younger than 15; however, they also studied the impact of GERD on dental erosion into dentine and the percentage of teeth with enamel or dentine erosion.

GERD in children had a strong association with enamel erosion (odds ratio [OR], 4.46; 95% CI, 1.93-10.30; P <.001) and dentine erosion (OR, 13.39; 95% CI, 4.17-42.94; P <.001). GERD also had a strong association with enamel and dentine erosion with the tooth as a unit (OR, 3.29; 95% CI, 1.36-7.95; P =.008 and OR, 5.91; 95% CI, 2.35-14.86; P <.001, respectively).

“Paediatricians, gastroenterologists, and dentists should not only be aware of reflux symptoms in children with dental erosion, but also be cognizant in identifying dental erosion in routine oral examination in children with GERD,” the study authors wrote.

The researchers also recommended the development of universal guidelines to define GERD in children for more accurate diagnosis and improved patient care.

Study limitations included the heterogeneity of included studies especially regarding the criteria for GERD diagnosis and the patient population, the limited available information on type of teeth examined that prevented effective data pooling, and a moderate risk of bias in most included studies.

Reference

Li Y, Wang Z, Fang M, Tay FR, Chen X. Association between gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and dental erosion in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Dent. Published online July 30, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.jdent.2022.104247