Here at EDG we often see patients with broken, cracked and worn teeth. So what are the main cause of this?
Over the last 18 months of COVID outbreaks and lockdowns many of our patients have been acutely aware of teeth grinding (bruxism). Bruxism is a repetitive jaw-muscle activity of clenching, grinding the teeth and thrusting of the jaw. It can occur during the day or more commonly in sleep.
Bruxism is controlled by your brain and may be caused by:
- Genetic factors
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Smoking, alcohol and caffeine
- Medications (e.g. antidepressants)
- Illicit drugs (e.g. ecstasy and ice)
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Back teeth often develop wear pits and cracks, front teeth chip on the edges
- Teeth become shorter over time
- You may feel pain and tenderness in face and neck, especially in the morning
Excessive acid in the mouth can cause enamel wear. It appears as glassy worn craters on the back surface of front teeth and on the biting surfaces of posterior teeth. This may be caused by:
- Excessive acid reflux
- Bulimia/excessive vomiting (e.g. during pregnancy)
Highly acidic diet (e.g. over-consumption of citrus fruit and vinegar-containing products, sports drinks, juices)
Overbrushing or scrubbing teeth may unnecessarily remove enamel, seen as enamel wear /craters at the gum level.
So what can you do to protect your teeth?
- wear a night splint made by a dentist to reduce the damage from grinding
- reduce caffeine and alcohol intake, as well as strenuous exercise before bed
- adress stress, anxiety and depression, especially during these testing times!
- Watch your diet and reduce acid consumption, especially between meals
- Go easy on your toothbrush – always use circular motion when brushing with soft bristled brush and let the electric brush do its job
- Have damaged teeth restored with fillings or crowns to prevent them from deteriorating further
We’re always here to help, and can still attend to any urgent dental issues during the current lockdown. Call us on 9531 6387 if you have any questions or to make an appointment.