Why Are My Teeth Becoming So Worn Down? 4 Possible Factors

Causes of worn teeth

Worn teeth can affect the look of your smile and lead to oral health issues like tooth decay and increased sensitivity. However, the cause behind worn teeth isn’t always clear. Understanding these common causes of worn teeth can help you take action to protect your oral health.

Should you be concerned about worn teeth?

Many patients aren’t aware of just how serious worn teeth can be. Enamel is the strongest material in your body, but it can still wear down due to a variety of causes. When this happens, it does not grow back. While some wear is unavoidable with age, preventing premature wear can improve your long-term oral health.

Ideally, you’ll keep up with routine appointments every six months, and your dentist will be able to identify any wear before you do. This includes the normal wear often seen when the sharper and more defined edges adult teeth have after eruption have softened.

You may also be able to notice wear by inspecting your teeth in a mirror yourself, looking for grooves, yellowing, and flat areas. 

As enamel wears away, there is less protection for the nerve tissue inside your tooth. This makes your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold foods, as temperatures transfer to the inner layers faster. That sensitivity is one of the most common signs of worn teeth.

Factors Contributing to Worn Teeth

A variety of different factors can contribute to worn teeth, often with multiple issues occurring at once. Here are 4 of the most common.

1. You may have acid erosion.

The enamel on your teeth is vulnerable to damage from so many sources, such as using your teeth like a tool to open things. But your enamel can also be damaged by acid, causing erosion and making your entire tooth vulnerable to decay and injury.

Where would you encounter such an acid?

Foods, drinks, medication, and even your own stomach acid can contain enough acid to harm your enamel over time. With food and drinks, specifically, food acids are often added to processed foods and drinks to prevent spoilage. Exposure to acids and sugar will weaken the enamel, so avoid sugary foods as well. Acid reflux can also bathe your teeth in acid, weakening them. Keeping up with routine fluoride treatments from your dentist can help maintain hard enamel.

2. Clenching your teeth can wear them down.

Have you ever caught yourself clenching your teeth? If so, you could be doing lasting damage to your teeth. You might notice that you clench your teeth while under stress. Quitting that habit or finding ways to reduce your stress can help protect your teeth.

You could also be clenching your teeth without realizing it. Bruxism is a condition where you grind or clench your teeth during sleep. It can cause worn teeth, along with a wide range of other oral health issues.

3. Grinding is a common cause of worn teeth.

Tooth grinding can wear down enamel very quickly. This could be a habit you do while under stress or it could also be caused by bruxism while you sleep. Bruxism is often associated with sleep apnea, a condition where you jolt awake throughout the night due to a lack of oxygen.

There are effective treatment options available for sleep apnea and bruxism. A custom mouthguard can protect your teeth and help relieve sleep apnea, and there are other options for sleep apnea treatment as well.

4. Aggressive brushing can affect your teeth.

Keeping up with oral hygiene is an important part of protecting your teeth from decay, wear, and other oral health issues. However, you could be harming your teeth if you aren’t brushing properly.

Brushing harder doesn’t make brushing more effective. Instead, focusing on how often and how long you brush is the key. Brushing too hard can wear enamel prematurely, especially if your brush has hard bristles. Transitioning to an electric toothbrush can help you apply more moderate pressure by letting the brush do the work.

What can you do about worn teeth?

The first step you should take if you’re concerned about worn teeth is to reach out to your dentist. They can evaluate your teeth and determine which underlying issues may be affecting you, as well as develop an effective treatment plan.

When bruxism is a factor, a custom mouthguard can be a highly effective option. If sleep apnea appears to be a concern, your dentist may refer you to a sleep specialist for diagnosis. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, a mouthguard could be the right solution.

Dealing with other factors, such as acid reflux, may also be necessary, which may require a visit to a general physician or specialist to treat. Additionally, addressing stress and anxiety related to clenching your jaw with relaxation techniques like meditation is a potential option to prevent further wear.

Your dentist may also provide some guidance on your at-home oral hygiene routine, including instructions for proper brushing technique or recommendations for a soft-bristled brush or other measures.

Take action on your oral health today.

If you’ve noticed visible wear, sensitive teeth, or other dental issues, Davis Family Dental Care is ready to help. Our experienced, friendly team can determine the cause of your dental issues and provide a wide range of effective treatment options with a gentle touch. Schedule an appointment at your dedicated dentist office in Bedford today.