What Causes Tooth Wear?
With proper care, your teeth will last a lifetime. Slight tooth wear is normal as we age – anything more is considered “occlusal disease.” Wear starts with the loss of the hard, translucent enamel, which is the hardest substance in the human body.
Thankfully, enamel is highly resistant to wear, acid and bacterial attack. This is terrific as our teeth come into contact with acidic foods and drinks, bacteria, used to bite and chew, and contact hot and cold food and drinks all day!
Still, it is possible for enamel to wear down for various reasons. Fortunately, your body has ways of compensating for minor wear. However, when tooth wear becomes more significant, treatment will be necessary to keep your bite functioning properly and to prevent potential tooth loss.
Types of Tooth Wear:
This is caused by the interaction of teeth and other materials rubbing or scraping against them. The most common source of abrasion is traumatic tooth brushing. Our advice, avoid all hard toothbrushes and never apply too much force when you brush. Doing so can wear the gum tissue and the root surfaces of your teeth. Other causes of abrasion can include improper use of toothpicks and dental floss. Some dental appliances like partial dentures or retainers when taken in and out of the mouth can also abrade teeth. Abrasion can also result from a diet loaded with abrasive foods like sunflower seeds and nuts, or habits such as nail-biting and pen-chewing.
This is wear caused by excessive tooth on tooth contact. Attrition is often seen in people whose jaws click or pop, have jaw pain, limited opening, and reduced range of motion. Additionally, it is frequently seen in people who clench and grind, have an uneven bite, have more than one bite, and tooth misalignment.
When teeth come in contact with acidic substances, the acid can actually erode (dissolve) the enamel on your teeth. Culprits of this kind of tooth wear often include sodas, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks. Certain fruit juices are also acidic. Confining these drinks to mealtimes and swishing water in your mouth after drinking them can help to prevent erosion.
This refers specifically to the loss of tooth enamel at the neck of the tooth, the thin part right at the gum line. This is also caused by instability in the jaw joints and bite, where during chewing the teeth flex – as they do, enamel breaks away from the tooth and notches develop. Gum recession is often seen with abractions and eventually, these areas become sensitive and always weaken the tooth
As always, my staff and I are available to answer any concerns you may have about any oral health.
To Your Health,
James Segulyev, DDS