Teeth Tip #2
Preventing Mechanical Wear and Tear on Your Teeth
The function of teeth is mostly mechanical — to mash and grind and otherwise break up food to make it more easily digested. For the most part, our teeth are resistant to cracks and chips.
Contrary to what many people assume, teeth do not become more brittle with age. Still, we see patients all the time who have cracked or chipped a tooth biting down hard on something like an olive that still has a pit or a kernel of unpopped popcorn.
Teeth that have fillings or root canals are particularly vulnerable, since they don’t have the strength of structurally intact teeth.
Another problem that causes wear and tear is the habit of grinding or clenching teeth. Called bruxism, it is frequently caused by stress or anxiety. Over time, bruxism can wear down the biting surfaces of teeth, making them more susceptible to decay.
What to do:
- Avoid chewing ice and other very hard foods.
- Double-check to make sure that pitted foods have no pits before you bite down on them.
- See your dentist regularly. He can spot cracked or broken fillings that may weaken teeth. Your dentist will also check for signs of bruxism. In many cases, people who grind or clench their teeth aren’t aware of the habit or the damage they are doing to their teeth. If you show signs of bruxism, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard that can be worn at night to prevent grinding.
Content provided by WebMD.com