Tooth abrasion is caused by something rubbing or scraping against the teeth. Brushing too hard is a common cause of abrasion. Toothpicks can cause abrasion. So can partial dentures or retainers that you can remove.
Chemicals such as acids cause tooth erosion. Usually the acids are in citrus fruits and other foods. Stomach acids also can cause erosion if they come up into the throat and mouth. This problem is called acid reflux. People with the eating disorder bulimia can get tooth erosion because of repeated vomiting. Even the chlorine and other chemicals in a swimming pool can cause erosion over time.
Tooth erosion looks different from abrasion. Erosion leaves a smooth, scooped out area on the tooth surface.
Both abrasion and erosion can make teeth more sensitive to sweet, hot or cold foods and drinks. The problem may be worse if the dentin under the enamel is exposed. Dentin protects the innermost part of the tooth, the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels.
Abrasion and erosion also can affect how your teeth look.
If don't know the proper techniques, your dentist or dental hygienist can help.
For sensitive teeth, your dentist may recommend a fluoride gel or rinse to use at home. If you need your teeth fixed, your dentist will use a tooth-colored material to replace the area that has worn away. Two types of materials are used:
Your dentist or dental hygienist may also apply a fluoride varnish to the teeth.
American Dental Association
211 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611-2678