Aspirin (USAN), also known as acetylsalicylic acid, is a salicylate drug, often used as an analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, as an antipyretic to reduce fever, and as an anti-inflammatory medication.
Salicylic acid, the main metabolite of aspirin, is an integral part of human and animal metabolism. While much of it is attributable to diet, a substantial part is synthesized endogenously.
Aspirin also has an antiplatelet effect by inhibiting the production of thromboxane, which under normal circumstances binds platelet molecules together to create a patch over damaged walls of blood vessels. Because the platelet patch can become too large and also block blood flow, locally and downstream, aspirin is also used long-term, at low doses, to help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clot formation in people at high risk of developing blood clots. It has also been established that low doses of aspirin may be given immediately after a heart attack to reduce the risk of another heart attack or of the death of cardiac tissue.
People who often chew aspirin over a prolonged period could severely damage their teeth, according to a case study in this month's issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).
"Aspirin can cause severe damage to both the hard and soft tissues of the mouth," said researchers from the University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore.
"Dentists should counsel and educate patients and other health care practitioners about the dangers to both hard and soft oral tissues from chewing aspirin," they added.
The researchers presented two cases of enamel erosion attributed to daily chewing of multiple aspirin tablets on a long-term basis.
The researchers said all of her teeth needed dental supplies treatment, but the amount and pattern of dental erosion were unusual. They observed severe erosion on almost all tooth surfaces, but the tooth surfaces most often in contact with aspirin had eroded the most.