Tooth Abrasion
Tooth Abrasion

Tooth Abrasion: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment [Complete Explanation]

It is important to remember that what causes tooth abrasion are mechanical factors that are often related to the patient’s bad habits. Dentists can help patients find out what factors which causes abrasion. In this case, doctor-patient communication will be the main thing in the success of prevention and treatment.

What is Tooth Abrasion?

Tooth abrasion is a condition when the tooth layer or enamel is lost due to long-term and excessive friction between the teeth [1,3,4,5,6].

The teeth close to the cheeks are the most susceptible to abrasion and buccal side is the term for this condition.

Tooth abrasion is characterized by a special characteristic, namely a V-shaped groove in the neck of the tooth and this usually occurs as a result of frequent brushing hard and roughly.

Overview 
Tooth abrasion is a condition when tooth enamel (coating of teeth) is lost due to friction with teeth or other hard objects.

Difference Between Tooth Abrasion Vs Tooth Erosion

Tooth abrasion and tooth erosion are two similar but different dental conditions [1,5,7].

Although both involve damage to the teeth, the location of the damage and the factors causing it are on average different.

If left unchecked, both conditions will be equally dangerous.

In the case of tooth abrasion, the location of the abrasion is the tooth closest to the cheek where the damage is usually caused by hard objects.

Friction between the teeth with hard objects such as mouth piercings, nails, pencils or other objects that are often bitten.

Meanwhile, tooth erosion is a condition where the enamel or layer of the tooth is worn away, which is characterized primarily by the appearance of a rounded shape of the tooth.

Tooth erosion is also synonymous with tooth discoloration with transparency.

The shape of the teeth will appear flatter when erosion continues without getting proper treatment.

Unlike tooth abrasion, where the damage is caused by friction between the teeth and a hard object, chemical processes are the reason behind the erosion of the tooth surface.

High acid levels from saliva are usually the main cause of tooth erosion so that dry mouth or food / drink with high acid levels can be a trigger.

Overview 
If tooth abrasion occurs in the area of ​​the teeth near the cheeks and is caused by friction of the teeth with hard objects, then tooth erosion usually occurs on the surface of the teeth caused by chemical processes (too high acid levels in the mouth)

Facts About Tooth Abrasion

  1. In older persons, the risk of tooth abrasion is known to increase at the age of 20 and over by 3% and in the elderly (70 years and over) it increases again by 17%. [1].
  2. According to the survey results, cases of mandibular tooth abrasion were 38% and maxillary tooth abrasion was 36.65%.

Causes of Tooth Abrasion

Tooth abrasion is mainly caused by some bad habits related to eating or brushing teeth.

The following are factors that need to be known that can increase the risk of tooth abrasion: [1,3,4,5,6,7]:

The Wrong Way of Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth the wrong way, such as too hard and rough and then brushing too long can trigger abrasion.

The movement of brushing your teeth forwards and backwards is not quite right, because the most recommended is a vertical movement, namely rotating or even up and down in the front.

Grinding your teeth is a bad habit that many people don’t realize, especially when the owner of the habit is asleep.

Bruxism in the long term can have a bad effect on the teeth because the friction between the teeth continuously causes tooth abrasion.

Some people definitely have their own pleasure when eating hard-textured foods or even biting hard objects.

Often biting nails, pencils or other hard objects can be a trigger for tooth abrasion if this habit is continued.

Piercing around the inside of the mouth may be considered beautiful by some, but this one accessory can actually be dangerous for the condition of the teeth.

The tooth layer is easily eroded when the tooth rubs against the earring where this leads to abrasion later.

Hard Toothpaste

Toothpaste containing ingredients that are too hard can cause tooth abrasion.

Abrasion due to toothpaste can occur, especially at the root of the tooth and the erosion process can occur continuously when the use of toothpaste is still the same.

Not much different from piercings around the mouth that cause friction, braces are also a factor that increases the risk of tooth abrasion.

Not only that, the strong grip of the braces on the teeth can damage the soft tissue and tooth structure without realizing it.

Therefore, users of braces are recommended to frequently consult a dentist after installation.

The habit of using a toothpick after every meal to remove food debris stuck between the teeth can apparently have an impact on tooth abrasion.

Because it has the potential to damage teeth, it is much safer to use dental floss to clean between them.

Overview 
Various bad habits that are considered normal apparently can harm teeth. The use of toothpicks after every meal, brushing teeth incorrectly, grinding teeth (bruxism), biting hard objects, piercings in the area in the mouth, using hard toothpaste, and braces are factors that trigger tooth abrasion.

Tooth Abrasion SYmptoms

Some of the most visible symptoms of tooth abrasion include: [1,3,4,5]:

  • Teeth are more sensitive, so the aches and pains will be felt every time you eat sweet, cold and hot foods, including brushing your teeth.
  • The shape of the tooth changes in several places as a result of erosion, which is sharp concave similar to a small “v”.
  • Easy and frequent infection.

Dental Abrasion Examination

If the symptoms of tooth abrasion begin to appear, then it is time to see a doctor.

In diagnosing symptoms, the doctor will ask questions about the patient’s health condition and medical history that may have an impact on the teeth.

Some of the questions that are usually asked patients to identify the condition include: [1,3,4,6]:

  • Does the patient have a habit of grinding teeth or experiencing bruxism.
  • Does the patient have digestive disorders in the stomach, such as gastric acid that is easy to rise.
  • Does the patient use drugs that give the side effects of dry mouth.
  • Is the patient on a high acid diet.
  • Does the patient suffer from an eating disorder?

Tooth Abrasion Treatment

Tooth abrasion can be treated through several methods, either naturally in a simple way or through medical treatment [3,4,6].

  • Eliminate Bad Habits

Bad habits that are detrimental to dental health need to be stopped immediately.

Starting from the habit of biting hard objects, eating hard textured foods, grinding teeth, brushing teeth the wrong way and using toothpicks.

Even habits in choosing and using toothpaste need to be considered again.

Avoid harsh toothpastes that have the potential to damage teeth if used in the long term.

  • Using Fluoride Toothpaste

In the case of tooth abrasion that causes minor damage, fluoride toothpaste can still help restore the condition of the teeth.

Even fluoride is the content of toothpaste which is also able to prevent cavity while minimizing the risk of caries formation.

  • Using a Toothbrush with Soft Bristles

Soft toothbrush bristles are much better for dental health because apart from brushing your teeth hard, hard toothbrush bristles also cause tooth abrasion.

Choose and use a toothbrush that is safe and does not have the potential to damage the layers of your teeth, namely a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Mouthguards or mouth guards can be a way of dealing with tooth abrasion, especially if this condition is caused by the habit of grinding your teeth.

Dentists will generally provide this treatment to reduce the risk of more serious damage to the teeth.

If the doctor finds the tooth structure is really severe due to tooth abrasion, then the possible treatment solution is with dental fillings.

Tooth structure that has the potential to be lost is when tooth abrasion is not treated immediately even though symptoms have occurred.

Symptoms in the long term will make the condition worse, so patching it will be very helpful.

The tooth structure is damaged and has reached the tooth bone or dentin, the doctor usually recommends a composite resin material for fillings.

The color will also be adjusted to the patient’s natural tooth color so that the tooth enamel is replaced without making it appear contrast.

Overview 
Dental abrasion treatment can be done either by simple natural methods or by medical treatment. Avoiding bad habits that cause abrasion is highly recommended. The use of soft-bristled toothbrushes and fluoridated toothpastes, the installation of mouthguards to prevent ongoing bruxism, and fillings are other dental abrasion treatments.

How To Prevent Tooth Abrasion

Tooth abrasion is a preventable condition and the following steps can be taken to prevent it: [1,4]:

  • Don’t brush your teeth hard.
  • Always use the right and safe toothbrush for your teeth, namely one with soft bristles.
  • Consult the doctor on how to brush your teeth properly (proper movement).
  • If you wear braces, make sure they are installed correctly, treat them properly, and keep checking/consulting with your doctor.
  • Check the health of your teeth to the dentist regularly (every 6 months) so that tooth abrasion or other dental problems are detected early on.
  • Do not bite hard objects and eat hard-textured foods.
  • Use dental floss rather than sharp toothpicks, which can damage teeth.
  • Avoid the habit of grinding your teeth and overcome it by consulting a doctor if necessary.
Overview 
The best prevention of tooth abrasion is to avoid all the habits that cause it. Routine dental health checks are also very necessary so that any risk of dental problems can be detected and treated early.

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  1. Ayesha Hanif, Haroon Rashid, & Mustafa Nasim. 2015. Journal of Restorative Dentistry. Tooth surface loss revisited: Classification, etiology, and management.
  2. Image: Sterilgutassistentin, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  3. Gargi S Sarode & Sachin C Sarode. 2013. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Abfraction: A review.
  4. Francisco J. López-Frías, Lizett Castellanos-Cosano, Jenifer Martín-González, José M. Llamas-Carreras, & Juan J. Segura-Egea. 2012. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry. Clinical measurement of tooth wear: Tooth wear indices.
  5. Geoffrey H. Sperber. 2017. Dentistry Journal. Dental Wear: Attrition, Erosion, and Abrasion—A Palaeo-Odontological Approach.
  6. Marcelle M Nascimento, Deborah A Dilbone, Patricia Nr Pereira, Wagner R Duarte, Saulo Geraldeli, & Alex J Delgado. 2016. PubMed gov National Library of Medicine. Abfraction Lesions: Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options.
  7. M Addy & RP Shellis. 2006. PubMed gov National Library of Medicine. Interaction Between Attrition,abrasion and Erosion in Tooth Wear.
  8. Video: Loc Huynh, DMD, AEGD, FICOI

Last Updated on May 16, 2022 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team