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What is dental abrasion?

 

Dental abrasion is tooth wear originating from friction or mechanical forces from a foreign object, and it predominantly impacts premolars and canines.
Tooth wear from abrasion typically looks like a wedge or V-shaped indentation of the tooth at the gum margin, and it appears worn, shiny and is often discolored at the cervical margin. Some causes of abrasion include rough, lateral tooth brushing, biting your nails, chewing on pens, pipe smoking, placing and removing denture clasps, abrasive dentifrices, and stiff toothbrushes. Toothbrush abrasion can be repaired by bonding a tooth-colored filling over the abraded area of the tooth.

How to prevent tooth abrasion

The most effective way to prevent damaging your enamel when you brush your teeth is by using a good toothbrush and following proper brushing techniques. Soft-bristled toothbrushes are generally recommended by dentists since these are a lot gentler on your enamel. The goal of brushing is to remove food particles and plaque, should be very gentle force on the tooth and gum area. The bristles on your toothbrush are designed to match the contours of your teeth, and they only need a small amount of pressure to clean your teeth.
Use short, circular motions when brushing your teeth instead of going up and down or side to side. Keep the bristles of your toothbrush at an angle to your gums as this allows you to clean the soft tissues of your gums while your brush. If you notice the ends of your toothbrush bristles look frayed after a few weeks, that is a clear sign that you are using too much pressure while brushing. About two minutes is enough to brush your entire mouth. Even with proper brushing techniques, brushing for more than a couple of minutes at a time makes you susceptible to tooth abrasion.

How dentists deal with tooth abrasion

Your dentist can repair some of the damage caused by abrasion using fillings. The dentist can apply the fillings to the grooves that form where your gum and tooth meet. The filling protects the area and keeps it free of bacteria and food particles.