Erosive wear undermines the structural properties of enamel resulting in irreversible enamel loss. A thin protein layer formed from natural saliva on tooth surfaces, acquired enamel pellicle (AEP), protects against erosive wear. The exact components in saliva responsible for such protection are not yet known. We prepared three solutions containing different components: proteins and ions [natural saliva (NS)], minerals with no proteins [artificial saliva (AS)] and neither proteins nor ions [deionised water (DW)]. To assess the protection of the three solutions against citric acid enamel erosion, enamel specimens were immersed in the corresponding solution for 24 h. All specimens were then exposed to five erosion cycles, each consisted of a further 30 min immersion in the same solution followed by 10-min erosion. Mean step height using a non-contacting profilometer, mean surface microhardness (SMH) using Knoop microhardness tester (final SMH), and roughness and 2D profiles using atomic force microscopy were measured after five cycles. The final SMH values were compared to the starting values (after 24 hr). NS group had significantly less tissue loss but greater SMH change (P < 0.0001) than AS and DW groups. Specimens in NS were softer and rougher (P < 0.001) but less eroded than specimens in AS and DW.