OBJECTIVES: To summarise the chemical, biological and host factors that impact enamel mineral loss, to highlight approaches to contemporary management of clinical conditions involving mineral loss and summarise emerging trends and challenges in this area.
DATA SOURCES: "Medline" and "Scopus" databases were searched electronically with the principal key words tooth, enamel, *mineral*, caries and erosion. Language was restricted to English and original studies and reviews were included. Conference papers and abstracts were excluded.
CONCLUSIONS: Enamel mineral loss leads to the degradation of the surface and subsurface structures of teeth. This can impact their shape, function, sensitivity and aesthetic qualities. Dental caries is a multifactorial disease caused by the simultaneous interplay of dietary sugars, dental plaque, the host and time. There is a steady decline in dental caries in developed countries and the clinical management of caries is moving towards a less invasive intervention, with risk assessment, prevention, control, restoration and recall. Tooth wear can be caused by erosion, abrasion and attrition. Dental erosion can be the result of acid from intrinsic sources, such as gastric acids, or extrinsic sources, in particular from the diet and consumption of acidic foods and drinks. Its prevalence is increasing and it increases with age. Clinical management requires diagnosis and risk assessment to understand the underlying aetiology, so that optimal preventative measures can be implemented. Overall, prevention of enamel mineral loss from caries and tooth wear should form the basis of lifelong dental management. Evidence based oral hygiene and dietary advice is imperative, alongside preventive therapy, to have a healthy lifestyle, whilst retaining hard tooth tissue.
Bibliographical note© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.