Tooth Wear & Erosion

Accelerated tooth wear, worn out or worn down teeth and acid dental erosion are increasingly common today. This is commonly termed as “Tooth Substance Loss” or “TSL”

There are 3 forms of accelerated tooth substance loss (TSL):-

Attrition

This is tooth wear through grinding or clenching, i.e. tooth to tooth wear and affects the biting/chewing surfaces of the teeth.

Abrasion

This is tooth wear through over aggressive brushing and typically affects the sides and necks of the teeth.

Erosion

This is loss of tooth structure (enamel and dentine) dissolved through acid erosion caused by acidic foods and drinks in our diets, or in patients with conditions like bulimia or acid-reflux.

Of course we often see patients with more than one, or even a combination of all of the factors above too, for example the case shown on the right.

What causes tooth wear and erosion?

Frequent exposure to acidic elements in our diets, especially fizzy drinks (even carbonated water), fruit or fruit juices, wine and other acidic drinks play a significant role in producing early loss of enamel from our teeth. Repeated exposure of your teeth to acidic components in your diet will lead to increased acid erosion affecting your teeth. The saliva in your mouth has a protective effect but can only work if the acid exposure is not too frequent. If your teeth are being exposed to acid drinks or foods several times a day then you are fighting a losing battle!

Of course, some acidic foods such as fruits and fruit juices are good for our health so the best advice is to drink still water through the day and limit the number of times a day we expose our teeth to acidic food and drinks. For instance, only have fizzy drinks or fruit juices at mealtimes or perhaps only once a day outside of mealtimes. It is also best not to brush your teeth immediately after having a acidic food or drinks so that your saliva has a chance to neutralise the acids and re-mineralise the enamel on your teeth.

Teeth affected by a combination of wear and erosion treated with veneers and crowns.

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