Understanding The Different Types Of Tooth Wear

person with crooked teeth

Bone and tissue grow through maturity but equally break down as we inevitably age. When this happens, teeth begin to wear down and damage your smile. This can be escalated further if you do not look after your oral health. Tooth wear can be experienced as early as the teenage years. Tooth wear is defined as the gradual loss of the tooth surface owing to decay and disease. With age, this progressively becomes worse, hence the importance of looking after your teeth gums every single day.

patient with crooked teeth

Below outlines the different types of tooth wear:


Tooth abrasion is the most common type of tooth wear and causes damage to the tooth enamel. This is due to your teeth being worn down by external or foreign objects. For example, if your teeth come into contact with certain hard objects like ice cubes, a pencil, bone or even when opening packaging. Overzealous brushing also causes damage to the tooth enamel. Any object or condition that damages tooth enamel will cause tooth abrasion. You can learn more about what to do with tooth abrasion here.


Attrition can be thought of as tooth friction, and it also attributes to the loss of tooth enamel, but this occurs from teeth grinding. Teeth grinding is a condition that involves the gradual clenching of the upper and lower teeth, damaging the biting surface of your teeth either during sleep or through stress. This can result in the underlying dentin becoming exposed, increasing tooth sensitivity.


The food and drink you consume are linked to tooth erosion. Fad diets containing sugar and acids wear away the enamel, changing the appearance of your teeth and causing tooth sensitivity. When the enamel is worn, the dentin is exposed, and it invites bacteria to penetrate, causing cavities and infections. If you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, change your diet with these best foods.

wear and tear on teeth


Abfraction occurs when the v-shaped structure sitting above the gumline is damaged. General causes of this are due to excessive pressure being applied through either poor brushing technique or overzealous brushing, and the use of a hard-bristle toothbrush. The shape becomes rounder in time and creates a notch at the tooth gumline. Pressure applied to the teeth such as biting, chewing and teeth grinding also cause this.

Tooth wear is natural through ageing but you don’t want to make it worse through poor oral hygiene. If you’re suspecting that you may have suffered from tooth wear, give us a call today!


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