What is Dental Abrasion?

What is Dental Abrasion?

Dental abrasion, quite simply, involves the wear and tear of the teeth. This results from the rubbing of foreign materials against the oral cavity that are considered abrasive in nature. From speed to repeated use to force, all of these factors can contribute to dental abrasion. Even the hardness of the material that’s brushing against the teeth or gums can contribute to the outcome.

Put another way, abrasion is the progressive loss of hard tooth substances brought about by mechanical actions rather than tooth-on-tooth contact. Commonly associated with incorrect tooth brushing techniques, this often manifests itself at the junction of the root and the tooth.

From toothbrushes to hard foods or ice, dental abrasion can be caused by many things. Some contributing factors can include:

  • Improper or too-frequent brushing
  • Biting sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • Chewing on ice
  • Securing nozzles of pipes between teeth
  • Ill-fitting retainers or dentures
  • Body modifications, such as triangular tooth morphology

Usually, the materials that cause abrasion are non-dietary in nature, except in the case of seeds and similar hard foods that people may chew on for long periods of time. The location of the wear can vary depending on the origin of the abrasion, as well as the magnitude, speed of development, extent of force, material type, and whether or not there is repeated use of the abrasive material.

You may assume that the more frequently and aggressively you brush your teeth, the cleaner they will be. However, the application of too much pressure can be detrimental to the condition of not only the teeth but surrounding gums. Brushing too hard can weaken the tooth structure’s outer layer, or enamel. You’ll know you have dental abrasion by tell-tale v-shaped notches near the gum line.


There are several ways you can treat dental abrasion. Talk with your dentist about some suggestions. Meanwhile, here are some helpful tips:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, never hard.
  • Don’t brush too hard. It’s much more effective to brush slowly and properly.
  • Don’t chew on toothpicks and pencils, and don’t bite your nails.
  • Ensure removable dental appliances fit properly; ask your dentist to check the fit every time you go in for a visit.
  • Schedule regular dental visits at least twice a year for cleanings and possible fluoride treatments, dental bonding or fillings to replace lost tooth structure. Regular visits will also help your dentist detect small problems before they become bigger.

The most important thing you can do to guard against abrasion is to make sure you see your dental professional regularly. Call Redwood Dental today at 800-462-2222.