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Guilderland, NY– Summer is all about sandy beaches, family and vacations times. With lots happening this season, chances are that you smile a lot. And to show off what you’ve got, it’s essential you take good care of your pearly whites. Summer especially is one season when we indulge in different kinds of beverages. Good or bad for teeth is hardly a thought that crosses our mind while we quench our thirst. But some of these refreshing beverages are the main cause of Tooth wear. The PH of various beverages- carbonated drinks, teas, wines, sport drinks and energy drinks can be harmful to your tooth structure.

Tooth wear (also termed non-carious tooth substance loss) is the term used to describe the progressive loss of a tooth’s surface due to actions other than those which cause tooth decay or dental trauma. Tooth wear can typically be categorized as pathological or physiologic. As people age there is a certain amount of wear and tear that occurs and is considered normal. Pathological tooth wear is wear that occurs beyond the scope of what is considered typical. This can have impacts on a person’s function and chewing ability, esthetic concerns, and can become painful if tooth wear exposes the nerve.

Tooth structure loss can be caused by three things: Occlusion (how your teeth come together) and is called Attrition and Abfraction. Secondly, The Brain , which is abnormal Attrition- called Bruxism and thirdly, the Environment which can cause Abrasion and Erosion.

Attrition is the normal mechanical wear from mastication. A shared risk factor can be if your tooth is opposing a porcelain crown. Wear patterns are based on your chewing patterns and can be considered pathological when it occurs to a greater extent than would normally be expected given a patient’s age. So by age 100 you should only lose 1mm of tooth structure, thats 1 micron per year!

Abfraction is caused by biomechanical loading forces. This pathological loss of hard tooth substance is caused by biomechanical loading forces. Such loss is thought to be due to flexure and ultimate fatigue of enamel and/or dentin at some point distant from the actual point of loading. These lesions can often look wedge-shaped and are at the base of the tooth near the gumline.

Abnormal Attrition called Bruxism is Brain mediated. It’s usually caused by clenching or bruxing one tooth surface against another. The typical pattern is horizontal(lateral) and linear.

Abrasion and Erosion are caused by environmental factors. Abrasion is caused by physical wear by extraneous objects, toothpaste, toothbrush, tongue, and cheeks. It’s an abnormal wearing away of the tooth substance by causes other than mastication.

Erosion is the progressive loss of tooth substance by chemical processes that do not involve bacterial action. These lesions can appear crater-like, cupped out areas on the biting surfaces or at the base of the tooth near the gumline. The frequency and inappropriate use of various beverages, sports drinks and energy drinks can be harmful due to the high pH and will cause tooth structure loss. Erosion is often seen in patients that have GERD( gastrooesophageal reflux disease).

It is important to distinguish between these various types of tooth wear, provide an insight into diagnosis, risk factors, and causative factors, to learn more or stop in with your brand of toothpaste to find out where it falls on the abrasiveness index of common toothpastes to prevent tooth wear. We will help you brighten your smile during this summer!

With Oshins of love…

– Dr. Steven Oshins