Hornchurch Dentist

Tooth Wear

Tooth erosion, abrasion and attrition

Worn down teeth

Destruction of tooth tissue

What is tooth wear?

Dr Rajiv Sheth is currently undertaking a masters in advanced restorative dentistry at Kings College London and this training enables him to undertake and treat complex restorative tooth wear cases.

Tooth wear is very common and can occur as a result of bruxism, acid erosion or general wear and tear. Tooth wear is also known as tooth substance loss or TSL.

There are three main types of tooth wear:

  • erosion
  • attrition
  • abrasion

Teeth erosion, abrasion and attrition

Erosion is an increasingly common problem because people consume more acidic and sugary foods and drinks than ever before. In the case of erosion, tooth substance is lost as a result of the protective enamel dissolving following exposure to acidic substances, such as fruit juice. Erosion is also common in people who have disorders, which cause them to vomit frequently, such as bulimia.

Attrition damages the teeth through friction and contact between the teeth. The most common example of this kind of tooth substance loss is teeth grinding, which is also known as bruxism. Clenching and grinding the teeth together damages the biting surfaces of the teeth.

Abrasion damages the teeth by wearing away the protective enamel surface. The most common example of mechanical abrasion is brushing your teeth too hard.

Often, patients have signs of one, two or three types of tooth substance loss.

Teeth erosion, abrasion and attrition

Erosion is an increasingly common problem because people consume more acidic and sugary foods and drinks than ever before. In the case of erosion, tooth substance is lost as a result of the protective enamel dissolving following exposure to acidic substances, such as fruit juice. Erosion is also common in people who have disorders, which cause them to vomit frequently, such as bulimia.

Attrition damages the teeth through friction and contact between the teeth. The most common example of this kind of tooth substance loss is teeth grinding, which is also known as bruxism. Clenching and grinding the teeth together damages the biting surfaces of the teeth.

Abrasion damages the teeth by wearing away the protective enamel surface. The most common example of mechanical abrasion is brushing your teeth too hard.

Often, patients have signs of one, two or three types of tooth substance loss.

How to minimise erosion

What causes tooth wear?

One of the main problems highlighted by dentists today is acid erosion and this is because many of us have diets that contain food and drink, which are highly acidic. Products that are marketed as healthy that we may consider to be a healthy alternative to fizzy drinks and cordial are actually often very acidic and many also contain a lot of sugar. Examples include, fruit juice, fruit smoothies. Saliva plays an important role in neutralising the pH level in the mouth. There are however limits to its capabilities and if you drink or eat acidic foods on a regular basis, the enamel will start to become worn.

When you eat or drink something acidic, the teeth are weakened and they can only withstand a limited number of attacks per day. If you are drinking or eating throughout the day, this means that your teeth are constantly under attack.

It is advisable to drink water throughout the day and to have fizzy drinks, cordial or a glass of wine with a meal if you fancy a change. It is also beneficial to wait around one hour after eating to brush your teeth, as brushing straight after eating can damage the enamel. This is because it will be temporarily weaker after you have eaten. Leaving an hour or so gives the teeth time to remineralise and the saliva in your mouth time to neutralise everything.

Teeth grinding, Bruxism

Bruxism is another common cause of tooth wear. Bruxism is the medical name for teeth grinding. Most people who grind their teeth do so subconsciously during the night and many may be completely unaware that they grind their teeth. Some people find that stress and anxiety trigger teeth grinding, while for others it is simply a habit. Bruxism can cause damage to the teeth and it is advisable to see a dentist, especially if you are suffering from headaches or pain in and around your teeth and jaw. If you have noticed that your teeth are looking a little worn, then there are solutions such as mouth guards, which help to prevent contact between the teeth during the night.

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    Hacton Dental Care
    1 Hacton Lane
    Hornchurch
    Essex
    RM12 6PH
    t: 01708 447603
    e: reception@hactondentalcare.com