What Causes Tooth Abrasion & How to Prevent It

One very common oral ailment is tooth abrasion. This happens when the surface of the tooth is scratched and can cause sensitivity to hot and cold. Since sensitivity can be quite uncomfortable, Ambiance Dental often advises our patients on what tooth abrasion is, how it is caused and how to prevent it.

What is Tooth Abrasion?

Abrasion is the abnormal wear of a tooth. It is the progressive loss of hard tooth substances caused by mechanical actions other than chewing or tooth-to tooth contact.

What Causes Abrasion to the Teeth?

Abrasion is usually caused by a toothpaste that is too abrasive or gritty or by aggressive brushing with a hard bristled brush. Abrasion is also commonly associated with incorrect tooth brushing technique, giving rise to notching at the junction of the crown and root of teeth. It will also be seen in individuals who use their teeth as a tool such as removing bottle tops, holding pins or biting nails. The long-term use of tongue jewelry also causes tooth abrasion when the jewelry is hitting against the teeth over time.

How Can Tooth Abrasion be Prevented?

To prevent toothbrush abrasion, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and focus on thoroughness rather than forcefulness when brushing. Abrasion can also be reduced by adopting a correct tooth brushing technique. In particular, the toothbrush should be held using a pen-grip and a gentle sweeping motion should be used. An electric toothbrush such as Sonicare and Oral B are also great options to reduce brushing friction by using vibrations to remove plaque and bacteria.

Another culprit of tooth abrasion is the toothpaste a patient is using. Toothpastes vary in their level of abrasiveness. While abrasives help to remove staining, they may also contribute to tooth wear. Those concerned about tooth wear could seek a less abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride toothpastes also help to combat tooth wear, specifically erosive tooth wear, as the availability of fluoride promotes the formation of a calcium fluoride layer. Did you know whitening toothpastes have harmful levels of abrasiveness for the tooth? Our team can guide you onto what is the safest toothpaste for your mouth. CTX 3 gel is considered one of the best toothpastes for patients based on scientific studies.

Teeth should not be used as a tool to grip or hold items. Bad habits such as nail biting, pen chewing and use of the teeth for anything other than eating should be corrected. Long-term use of tongue jewelry should be avoided.

Treatments For Tooth Abrasion

If left untreated, dental abrasion may lead to cavities and even tooth loss. Dentin isn’t as tough or as protective as tooth enamel, so when it’s exposed, mouth bacteria and plaque can begin to harm the tooth. If the decay continues, the pulp of the tooth may be compromised, which in severe cases may result in a tooth extraction.

If you have some degree of abrasion, your dentist may recommend treatments to protect the tooth and cover up the exposed dentin. Dentin wears 7 times faster than enamel so we can cover the exposed surface with a restoration.

Good oral health starts with you.  Be sure to see your dentist routinely and ask questions if you have any concerns.  Early detection, treatment and prevention will go a long way in ensuring a lifetime of oral health.

The dental team at Ambiance Dental is proud to educate our patients on the best oral care practices to ensure their teeth stay strong and healthy as long as possible. Book a dental check up online today!