Attrition, Erosion and Fractures
Teeth have a natural wear and tear that slowly causes them to lose surface area to chew with as we age.
Attrition is the loss of tooth due to mechanical grinding or interaction with other teeth. Bruxism, or teeth grinding is a form of attrition that can occur during sleep and night grinders are often unaware that they are their teeth are witling away while they are not even awake. Nail biting is another habit that causes teeth wear and can prematurely destroy your dental health.
Erosion is the loss of tooth due to chemicals such as: acidic juices, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, hard candy, or stomach acid.
Abfraction is the theoretical loss of tooth caused by forces placed onto teeth during chewing or grinding. This form of tooth loss is created by forces pushing the tooth in different directions and is shown as lesions along the gumline.
Abrasion is the loss of tooth due to the interaction between a foreign object and teeth. This type of tooth wear can occur via the improper usage of a toothbrush or the repeated clashing of a lip or tongue piercing with teeth.
Erosion Starts Early
Results data from a 2000 National Survey showed that most people by the age of 35 have enough wear on their teeth that at least one surface of a tooth has the deeper, yellowish dentine layer exposed:
- 17% for age 12
- 30% for age 15
- 38% for ages 16-24
- 76% for ages 35-44
- 93% for ages 65+
Tooth wear can affect any individual, regardless of age. So, maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is critical in sustaining the health of your teeth for a lifetime.
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Read our list of common dental problems to learn more about other oral health issues that many Americans face.
Tips on Prevention
There are a few habits that are particularly damaging to the longevity of your teeth and should be avoided to prevent the erosion, attrition, abrasion, or abfracture of your pearly whites.
- Be sure to visit your dentist semiannually, at the very least, to avoid being blindsided by attrition that can slowly diminish the sate of your oral health without your knowledge.
- Frequently drinking carbonated beverages or acidic fruit juices will erode your teeth quickly.
- Do not brush your teeth shortly after consuming food or drinks that are high in acidity as the brushing can damage the enamel layer recently weakened by this acidic presence. This is a common cause of enamel wear on teeth.
- Avoid brushing your teeth too vigorously or scrubbing too hard as this can also cause enamel wear on teeth.
- Use a soft-bristled brush and change your toothbrushes out frequently.
- Avoid wearing jewelry such as lip or tongue rings for extended periods of time.
- Avoid toothpastes containing abrasives and opt for fluoride based toothpastes instead. Abrasives can remove stains from the outer layer of your teeth, but in doing so they also lead to enamel wear that can expose the underlying, yellow dentin layer of the tooth. On the other hand, fluoride based toothpastes promote the natural growth of the outer enamel layer to help better protect teeth over time.
Examples of Treatment
Sever erosion and attrition is an aging problem that needs to be corrected early. Grinding your teeth at night can also causes this.
These attrition and erosion cases were corrected with composite resins.
Citric acid from lemons is a common dental problem and completely destroys teeth at an early age. I have seen cases of teen-agers that have ruined their front teeth from sucking on lemons all the time.
Teeth wear from dental attrition is accelerated by nail biting. Please stop the nail biting habit on your child before they hit junior high or they never will and cause their teeth to wear out prematurely.
Many teeth split and fracture from chewing on ice, rock hard candy, and bone pieces in food. In order to avoid this, big fillings should be replaced with sturdier crowns.
Root fractures caused this tooth to need extraction. It was unsavable after one half of the tooth was removed. This tooth had a root canal that was recently completed, but it split before it could be crowned. Always crown a tooth right after a root canal, do not wait and leave the exposed tooth vulnerable.