The acquired pellicle adheres to tooth surfaces and has been suggested to provide differing degrees of protection against acidic erosion. This study investigated whether pellicle formed on enamel blocks in patients suffering dietary dental erosion modified the effect of an in vitro simulated dietary challenge, in comparison with pellicle formed on enamel blocks in healthy subjects and to no-pellicle enamel samples. Sixty subjects recruited from dental erosion clinics were compared to healthy age-matched controls. Subjects wore a custom-made maxillary splint holding human enamel blocks for 1 h during which the acquired enamel pellicle was formed. Enamel blocks were removed from the splints and a simulated dietary erosive challenge of 10 min was performed. In addition the challenge was performed on 30 enamel samples without pellicle. Profilometry showed no statistical difference between samples from the erosion subjects with a mean step height of 1.74 µm (SD 0.88) and median roughness (Sa) of 0.39 µm (interquartile range, IQR 0.3-0.56) and the controls with 1.34 µm (SD 0.66) and 0.33 µm (IQR 0.27-0.38), respectively. The control samples without pellicle had Sa of 0.44 µm (IQR 0.36-0.69) and these differences were statistically significant compared to those from the healthy subjects (p = 0.002). Mean (SD) microhardness reduction with a 100-gram load for the erosion group was 113.5 (10) KHN, for healthy subjects was 93 (15.4) KHN and for the enamel samples without pellicle 139.6 (21.8) KHN and all groups were statistically different. The microhardness and roughness data suggested the pellicle influenced erosion under these study conditions.

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