Thickness of acquired salivary pellicle as a determinant of the sites of dental erosion

B. T. Amaechi, S. M. Higham, W. M. Edgar, A. Milosevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Dental erosion shows a typical distribution pattern within the dental arches. Tooth protection from erosion by salivary pellicle has been shown in vitro, but the hypothesis that pellicle may differ quantitatively at sites of erosion has not been investigated. This study aimed to determine the thickness of acquired salivary pellicle within the dental arches, investigate the possible relationship of this thickness to the distribution and severity of erosion within the arches, and confirm the protective effect of pellicle against dental erosion. Eight enamel blocks \vere produced from each of 5 bovine incisors assigned to five volunteers. Each block was further cut into 2 slabs, producing control and experimental slabs. Pellicle developed on experimental slabs located on 8 intra-oral sites after 1 hr of exposure was stained by sheep anti-human IgGAM-FITC Slabs were then visualized, and pellicle thickness measured, by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Eroded enamel lesions were produced in experimental and control slabs by means of pure orange juice. The degree of erosion was quantified by transverse microradiography. Pellicle thickness varied significantly within the dental arches and among individuals. An inverse relationship (r = -0.96, p 0.001) was observed between the degree of erosion and pellicle thickness. Significant differences in erosion were observed between slabs with and those without pellicle. This study has shown that the thickness of acquired salivary pellicle varies within the dental arches, which may be responsible for the sitespecificity of dental erosion, and that pellicle does protect the teeth from erosion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1821-1828
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired salivary pellicle
  • Dental erosion
  • Distribution
  • Site
  • Thickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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