Researchers at IUPUI lead effort to identify extent of dental erosion

INDIANAPOLIS -- Researchers at IUPUI are working on a study to examine the ability of U.S. dental professionals to identify erosive tooth wear, determine its prevalence among different age groups and evaluate patient perceptions.

Erosive tooth wear, or ETW, is the progressive loss of tooth hard tissue by acid dissolution. Unlike tooth decay, the acids causing ETW are not produced by bacteria after sugar consumption. Instead, excessive consumption of acidic beverages and foods, gastroesophageal reflux, or frequent vomiting may result in ETW.

Funded for the first phase of research by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, this investigator-initiated, public domain study will develop a web-based platform that includes ETW identification tools and a data-collection repository. This platform will provide a significant foundation for the next three years of planned research and will guide the development of clinic-ready procedures that will inform how professionals and patients identify ETW.

ETW is an underdiagnosed condition in the U.S., most likely because of a lack of awareness in dental professionals, said co-principal investigator Gerardo Maupomé, associate dean for research in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI.

"Findings from this study will serve as an important steppingstone to characterize how dental professionals identify ETW," Maupomé said. "Erosive tooth wear appears to be considerably out of the radar of dental professionals. We think it is important to understand how much exists in the U.S. population, and why."

Maupomé and Dr. Anderson Hara, also co-principal investigator and director of the cariology division of the Department of Cariology, Operative Dentistry and Dental Public Health at the Indiana University School of Dentistry, will lead an effort aimed at raising the profile of ETW as a clinical and epidemiological problem in the United States. Their research group also includes Adam Hirsh, a co-investigator from the School of Science at IUPUI. Future research resulting from this initial effort includes an exploration of the perceptions about ETW and related factors using the National Dental Practice Based Research Network, the flagship practice platform for dental research in the United States.

About the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI

Established in 2012 on Indiana's premier health sciences campus, the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI offers 11 academic degree programs designed to prepare graduates to improve health for the people of Indiana and beyond. The school is known for its expertise in a number of areas, including biostatistics, epidemiology, cancer research, community health, health policy and health administration. It offers multiple bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, including the state's only CAHME-accredited Master of Health Administration, as well as joint degrees in partnership with IUPUI schools including the IU School of Medicine and the IU McKinney School of Law.

About the Indiana University School of Dentistry

The only dental school in the Hoosier state, the Indiana University School of Dentistry offers an extraordinary learning environment in which teaching, research and community service come together in the best way possible for the preparation of tomorrow's dental professionals. Founded in 1879 as the Indiana Dental College, the school is in the heart of the state capital of Indianapolis on the IUPUI campus and services more than 19,000 patients per year.

Media Contact

Amanda Briggs

IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health

Phone: 317-278-0386

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Email: amanbrig@iu.edu

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