Tooth wear can occur in any age group of the population. As we grow older, so do our teeth, and since we’re living longer these days, the wear on our teeth is greater than ever. But depending on their diets, even younger children can experience wear to their teeth. We’re your friendly dentist in Gilbert, AZ, and we know all about tooth wear. We’ve seen how it can create pain and affect a person’s eating and drinking, not to mention impacting how that person feels about their appearance. Read on to learn how to prevent tooth wear and keep your smile healthy.
Types of Tooth Wear
Tooth wear is simply defined as the loss of tooth substance. There are three types of tooth wear: erosion, attrition and abrasion.
Erosion of teeth—Many dental issues begin when a buildup of bacteria leads to inflammation. Erosion of teeth, however, is not from bacteria, but from acid. If younger children drink a lot of fruit juices (especially orange juice), they can experience erosion of teeth. Other acidic drinks that cause tooth erosion are soda and carbonated drinks (including sparkling water), and wine. Even exposure to chlorinated swimming pools can be a source of erosive acids. In addition, acid reflux can contribute to the erosion of teeth.
Attrition of teeth—Attrition occurs through tooth-to-tooth contact. For example, people who grind or clench their teeth at night (a condition known as bruxism), may have tooth wear from the constant excess pressure. People who eat an excess of fibrous foods in their diet may also experience tooth wear through attrition.
Abrasion of teeth—Abrasion mainly occurs when people use a toothbrush incorrectly, causing sections of the hard enamel portion near the gumline to wear away. Using teeth as a tool (e.g., to open bottle tops or bags, or to hold nails) can also create tooth abrasion.
Prevention of Tooth Wear
Drinking fewer acidic drinks can help avoid erosion. But if you do drink an acidic beverage, don’t brush your teeth for about 20 minutes afterward, since acid softens the enamel and makes it susceptible to damage by brushing.
As for attrition, if you suspect you may be one who grinds or clenches your teeth, consider wearing a mouthguard at night. It could save you tooth wear, as well as prevent further deep tooth damage to roots.
And learning to brush correctly will help avoid abrasion. Here’s an American Dental Association link to a video showing the correct brushing techniques, using a soft bristled brush. And try not to use your teeth as a tool; take the time to grab a pair of scissors or a gripping tool, and save your teeth for chewing and smiling. Also, to avoid abrasion, don’t wear tongue jewelry for a long period of time.
Finally, using a Fluoride toothpaste can protect your teeth from tooth wear by creating a protective layer of calcium fluoride. For those who have already experienced tooth wear and would like to know about available treatments, look for the release of our next blog post for more details, or click on the Services heading of our website’s home page. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ we’re doing everything we can to help you avoid tooth wear. As a caring dentist in Gilbert, AZ, we want to do everything possible to prevent tooth wear before it gets started. But if you’re concerned you’ve already got tooth wear, we’re also available to meet your reconstructive dental care needs. Feel free to contact our offices with questions or concerns. Here’s to your good health, and to your beautiful smile!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/30/2018) Jon Bunting (Flickr)