Stop Teeth from Wearing Down

It is normal to notice a little flattening of your teeth due to everyday wear and tear but is it possible to prevent your teeth from wearing down a lot? Excessive tooth wear can result in very flat edges, shifting and crowding, and even darkening of the teeth. There are three main types of tooth wear that can affect the teeth which include attrition, abrasion, and erosion.

Before we discuss prevention, let’s take a closer look at each type of tooth wear.

Types of Tooth Wear: Explained!

Attrition occurs with tooth-on-tooth contact, such as the unconscious clenching and/or grinding a lot of us do in our sleep, called bruxism. Bruxism is the main cause of attrition and is often a side effect of stress. Some people may clench their teeth throughout the day as well! Bruxism can also lead to jaw and neck pain, and headaches.

Abrasion is caused by an external force, most often brushing too aggressively, using a hard-bristle toothbrush, or brushing back and forth along the teeth instead of up and down in circular motions. Abrasion is usually evident on the outer surfaces of the back teeth where a wedge or V-shaped indentation of the tooth can be seen along the gum line.

Erosion is a result of some type of acid having repeated contact with the teeth. External erosion results from consuming highly acidic foods and beverages. Internal erosion results from stomach acids coming up and making contact with your teeth. This can occur with gastric reflux or repeated vomiting, as with bulimia.

Now let’s see what we can do about tooth wear!

Can I stop my teeth from wearing down?

Tooth wear can become a bigger problem if left untreated. It can lead to worsening of the wear and eventually, cracked and broken teeth. Some fractured teeth cannot be saved and end up requiring extraction.

Proper technique is vitally important to your hygiene routine! Your dental hygienist can help you learn how to correctly brush (with a SOFT bristled toothbrush) and floss! Maintain a healthy diet, avoiding acidic foods and beverages and speak with your general practitioner if you are having trouble with stomach acid interrupting your daily life.

Additionally, patients struggling with bruxism can benefit from a custom-made day guard or night guard, or both if necessary. This is an appliance that fits over an entire arch of teeth like a retainer but is thicker and provides a buffer between the occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. A night guard will allow you to wake up without jaw pain and without having ground on your teeth all night. It will also give the muscles of your head, neck and shoulders a way to relax while you sleep!

Early stages of tooth wear can often be repaired either with contouring to make everything smooth and even or dental bonding to build your teeth back up to their former shape. If wear has progressed beyond what can be repaired with bonding, porcelain crowns and veneers can be placed to restore teeth and strengthen your bite. If you are concerned about tooth wear, speak with your dentist to determine the cause of your tooth wear and learn what treatment option might be best for you.

Treating Worn Down Teeth