Several published studies have found that the use of aspirin, if chewed, can contribute to enamel erosion. These studies analyzed both laboratory studies, where extracted teeth were placed in a water and aspirin mixture, and clinical case studies of people who took six doses of aspirin powder per day for a two-to-three year period. In the laboratory study, scientists observed changes in the surface of both the enamel, outer covering of the teeth, and dentin, the layer of tooth structure under the enamel, of the extracted teeth tested.1
In the clinical case study, the top surface of the teeth, also called the occlusal surface, showed severe erosion of the lower molars and premolars and on the lower anterior teeth on the tongue side. The researchers concluded that the aspirin powder caused the tooth erosion.2
Another study examined 42 children with rheumatoid arthritis. The participants were split into two groups, those who chewed aspirin, and those who swallowed it. The study found that the 25 children who chewed aspirin tablets experienced severe erosion of the upper and lower primary molars, and their first permanent molars. The 17 children who swallowed the aspirin tablets experienced no erosion of their teeth. The scientists concluded that the tooth erosion these children developed was due to chewing the aspirin tablets.3
These studies show that aspirin can affect the structure of the tooth surface depending how the analgesic is taken and can cause irritation to the soft tissue in the mouth. Consult with your dentist and physician if required doses of aspirin are recommended for a medical condition.
1. Zero, DT. Etiology of dental erosion: extrinsic factors. Eur J Oral Sci 1996; 104(2[Pt2]): 162-77.
2. McCracken M, O’Neal SJ. Dental erosion and aspirin headache powders: a clinical report. J Prosthodont 2000; 9(2):95-8.
3. Sullivan RE, Kramer W. Iatrogenic erosion of teeth. ASDC J Dent Child 1983; 50 (3): 192-6.