It is healthy to brush your teeth daily twice per day to prevent tooth decay. But did you know, applying too much pressure when brushing can damage your tooth enamel? When you erode your tooth enamel due to an external force, such as aggressive brushing, chewing on hard objects, or nail-biting, your teeth undergo a dental abrasion process. Loss of tooth enamel may result in tooth sensitivity and increase your risk of dental decay, so it’s best to treat your teeth more gently.
Types of Tooth Wear
Dental abrasion results from external mechanical action on the teeth, which removes the tooth enamel.
This occurs when acids in food or from the stomach dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth. It is commonly found on the tongue side of the upper teeth.
Attrition is the result of tooth surfaces rubbing together and wearing away the tooth structure, such as through teeth grinding.
Causes and Signs of Dental Abrasion
Dental abrasion happens over a period of time. Applying too much pressure when brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause this kind of wear. Anything that repeatedly rubs on your tooth enamel eventually breaks it down.
Eventually, abrasion causes indent on your teeth, most probably at the place where they meet the gumline. The exposed area may be darker than other teeth because the white enamel has worn down, exposing the dentin layer underneath.
Another common symptom of abrasion is tooth sensitivity. When the enamel dissolves, and the dentin becomes exposed, it makes the teeth sensitive.
Dentin contains small channels under the enamel surface and leads to the sensitive pulp at the center of the tooth. This may cause pain when you brush your teeth or perhaps when you eat hot, cold, sour, or sweet foods.