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Enamel is the outermost layer of teeth. It is also the hardest substance found in the body, harder than bones, nails, or anything else. Teeth can and do wear away over time, however leading to a whole host of problems.
Why Do Teeth Wear Away?
The most common reason for teeth to wear away is, wait for it, brushing your teeth. Too many people still believe that using a hard brush with force on their teeth allows them to clean it better. Research has now conclusively shown that teeth do not require a hard brush or forceful scrubbing at all.
The manner in which most people brush their teeth is also wrong. People tend to scrub their teeth horizontally while they should be gently rotating their brush or moving it vertically in a direction away from the gums.
The second most common reason is an excessive consumption of acidic food. Our diet has changed over the years to include more and more preservatives, caffeine and sodas of all kinds. The presence of acid in the oral cavity changes the normal balance and cause a demineralization of the enamel.
People who are suffering from acid reflux diseases, bulimia or other GI problems also face a severe wearing away of the teeth.
Night grinding or bruxism as it is medically called is also one of the more common reasons behind an unnatural wearing of teeth. The exact cause behind this condition is unknown and doctors suspect that psychological factors like stress and anxiety have a lot to do with it. Occlusal disturbances in the mouth, wherein the teeth do not quite meet each other in the correct manner are also a possible cause.
Tteeth will wear away with age even if there is no pathology associated with them — but that kind of wearing away or attrition as it is called is normal and does not cause large-scale or sudden problems to patients.
Chewing on foreign objects like bottle caps, tacks or something similar can lead to the development of wear facets on the teeth. Such habits will lead to a localized clinical presentation of worn away teeth. Habitual tobacco users are also certain to have teeth have been word down. In this case, a direct correlation can be made between the frequency of use and the severity of destruction of the teeth.
There are also some genetic conditions in which the enamel may not have formed correctly or may not have been bonded to the underlying layers with the same strength as expected in a normal individual. These conditions include but are not limited to Amelogenesis Imperfecta, and Dentinogenesis Imperfecta, and certain syndromes will have other symptoms that manifest extra-orally as well, making them quite straightforward to identify.
The rate of destruction of teeth in such cases is extremely rapid and most of the patients affected can be expected to lose all their teeth in the first two decades of life.