How and Why Teeth Wear

Oral_HealthOur teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but often they encounter challenges that can threaten their residency in our mouth. Some of these risks result from wear and tear to our teeth, which can happen suddenly or over a long period of time. Many types of wear to our teeth can be avoided if we understand some basic realities of oral health care.

Top Oral Health Reasons That Teeth Wear Down

  1. Improper toothbrush technique It’s only been in the past few generations that dentists have been able to identify the best way to brush teeth and prevent teeth wear. There are tutorials online to provide an in-depth view of how to do it right, but you can start by remembering to brush with the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, making sure you brush along the gum line, and brush in small circular motions on each tooth, rather than using a back-and-forth “sawing” motion.
  2. Inappropriate brushing tools – When it comes to what you brush your teeth with, harsher is NOT better. Use a soft-bristled brush and brush gently. Also, some toothpaste can be so abrasive that it causes wear. Dentists recommend that patients at risk for teeth wear use a toothpaste with a Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) rating of 70 or below.
  3. Teeth grinding/bruxism – One of the most direct forms of teeth wear comes in the form of bruxism, a dental condition where a patient consistently clenches their jaw or grinds their teeth, often in their sleep. The best ways to combat this situation are to get a dentist to fit you with a night mouth guard, to find effective ways to reduce or eliminate stress in your life, and to be evaluated and treated for sleep apnea, which has a correlation with bruxism.
  4. Carelessness – Often, we act as if our teeth are indestructable, thoughtlessly chewing on very hard foods, exposing them to the blows of impact sports, or using them as “tools” for opening containers or holding keys, pens, etc. If you play contact sports, see if your dentist can custom-fit a mouth guard for you. Watch how you bite down on hard foods, such as nuts or biscotti. And please, don’t carry or rip things with your teeth!

“Teeth are truly a wonder of oral health, especially in terms of their durability,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix. “Following a few simple guidelines can ensure they will stay healthy and useful for life.”

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