Tooth Abrasion

Dental Hygiene Glossary: Tooth Abrasion

Dental Hygiene Glossary: Tooth Abrasion

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding Tooth Abrasion: Tooth abrasion, a form of dental wear caused by actions other than chewing, such as aggressive tooth brushing or habits like nail-biting, leads to enamel loss and sensitivity. Recognizing its causes, symptoms, and treatment is crucial for maintaining oral health.
  • Prevention and Natural Remedies:
  • Brighter Smiles Ahead: Zimba offers a unique solution for at-home teeth whitening, combining convenience, affordability, and high-quality, natural ingredients. Our products are designed for effective whitening while being gentle on teeth, making dental care more accessible and comfortable.


Tooth Abrasion: the silent culprit behind many dental woes. It's more than just wear and tear; it's a journey through the lesser-known paths of oral health. Have you ever wondered why your teeth might be getting shorter, or why sensitivity seems to strike out of nowhere? 

In this article, we'll discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for tooth abrasion, as well as provide tips on how to prevent this condition from occurring. So, let's explore and educate ourselves on this important aspect of dental hygiene.

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What Is Tooth Abrasion?

Tooth abrasion is a form of dental wear caused by the mechanical action of external agents other than chewing, such as aggressive tooth brushing, using a hard-bristled toothbrush, or habits like nail-biting and holding objects between the teeth.1 This condition results in the loss of tooth enamel, particularly along the gumline, leading to grooves, notches, or worn surfaces on the teeth.


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What Can Cause Tooth Abrassion?

There are several factors that can contribute to tooth abrasion. Let's take a closer look at some of the common causes:

Aggressive Brushing

Brushing with excessive force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can lead to tooth abrasion. The repetitive back-and-forth motion combined with the pressure can gradually wear down the enamel.2

Incorrect Brushing Technique

Brushing in a horizontal motion instead of a gentle circular motion can also contribute to tooth abrasion. It's important to use the correct technique while brushing to avoid unnecessary friction on the teeth.

Grinding And Clenching

Grinding or clenching your teeth, a condition known as bruxism can cause enamel erosion and tooth abrasion.3 This habit puts excessive pressure on the teeth and can lead to premature wear.

Acidic Foods And Beverages

Frequent consumption of acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits, soda, and sports drinks, can erode the enamel and make the teeth more susceptible to abrasion. It's important to limit the consumption of these acidic substances and rinse your mouth with water afterward.

Orthodontic Appliances

Wearing orthodontic appliances like braces or retainers can lead to tooth abrasion due to the friction between the appliance and the teeth. Taking extra care and following the orthodontist's instructions can help minimize this risk.

Tobacco Use

Smoking or using other tobacco products can harm your oral health in many ways, including contributing to tooth abrasion.4 The particles and chemicals in tobacco can weaken the enamel and make it more susceptible to wear and tear.

What Are The Symptoms of Tooth Abrasion?

Recognizing the symptoms of tooth abrasion is crucial for early intervention and preventing further damage. Here are the key symptoms to look out for:

Tooth Sensitivity

One of the most common signs of tooth abrasion is increased sensitivity. If you notice a sharp pain or discomfort in your teeth when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, it could be a sign that your tooth enamel has worn down, exposing the more sensitive dentin.

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Visible Wear and Tear

Over time, abrasion can lead to visible changes in the appearance of your teeth. They may appear shorter, or you might notice flat, worn surfaces on the biting edges. Teeth may also look more yellow as the thinning enamel exposes the underlying dentin.

Notches or Grooves

Another indication of tooth abrasion is the presence of notches or grooves near the gum line. These grooves are typically more noticeable on the canines and premolars and can be felt when you run your tongue over them.

Rough or Jagged Tooth Edges

As the enamel wears away, the edges of the teeth can become rough or jagged. This is particularly common in people who habitually bite their nails or open packages with their teeth.

Change in Tooth Shape

Teeth may appear to change shape, becoming more rounded, squared, or having a scalloped appearance along the gum line.

Increased Tooth Decay

Thinner enamel provides less protection for your teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities and decay, especially along the gum line where abrasion often occurs.

Gum Recession

In some cases, tooth abrasion can be associated with gum recession. This happens because aggressive brushing not only wears down the teeth but can also damage the gum tissue.

How To Treat Tooth Abrasion?

Treating tooth abrasion effectively involves a combination of professional dental care and at-home practices. Here’s a comprehensive approach:

  1. Consult Your Dentist: The first step in treating tooth abrasion is to get a professional evaluation. Your dentist can assess the severity of the abrasion and recommend appropriate treatments.
  2. Change Your Brushing Technique: Often, tooth abrasion is caused by aggressive or improper brushing. Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and adopt a gentler, circular motion while brushing. Your dentist can demonstrate the proper technique.
  3. Use a Desensitizing Toothpaste: If you’re experiencing sensitivity due to enamel erosion, a desensitizing toothpaste can help. These toothpastes contain compounds that help block the transmission of pain signals from the tooth surface to the nerve.
  4. Avoid Acidic Foods and Drinks: Acidic substances can further erode your enamel. Limit your intake of foods and drinks like citrus fruits, soda, and wine.
  5. Wear a Mouthguard: If your tooth abrasion is due to grinding your teeth (bruxism), your dentist might recommend wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard at night to protect your teeth.


How To Treat Tooth Abrasion

What Are Some Natural Remedies For Tooth Abrasion Relief?

If you prefer natural remedies, there are several options to consider when it comes to treating tooth abrasion. Here are a few natural remedies that may help alleviate symptoms and promote tooth enamel health:

Oil Pulling

This traditional Ayurvedic method involves swishing coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. It's thought to help remove bacteria and promote oral health. Remember, it complements but doesn't replace regular dental care.5

Saltwater Rinse

To reduce gum inflammation and tooth sensitivity, rinse your mouth with a solution of half a teaspoon of salt in warm water. This helps alleviate swelling and cleanse the mouth, but it's not a complete substitute for dental treatment.

Aloe Vera Gel

Apply pure aloe vera gel to the gums for its soothing and anti-inflammatory effects. Ensure the gel is free from added sugars and artificial ingredients for safety.

Green Tea

Drinking green tea can aid in reducing gum inflammation due to its antioxidants. Drink it unsweetened to protect against cavities while benefiting from its natural properties.6

How To Prevent Tooth Abrasion?

Preventing tooth abrasion begins with adopting good oral hygiene habits and making a few simple lifestyle changes. Here are some effective strategies to help prevent tooth abrasion:

  • Choose the Right Toothbrush: Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush that is gentle on the teeth and gums. Avoid using a toothbrush with hard bristles, as it can contribute to abrasive wear on the enamel.
  • Use a Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel and prevents tooth decay. Regularly using fluoride toothpaste can help protect your teeth from enamel erosion and abrasion.
  • Limit Acidic Foods and Drinks: Acidic foods and beverages can erode tooth enamel over time, making it more susceptible to abrasion. Limit your consumption of acidic substances such as citrus fruits, soda, and sports drinks. If you do indulge, rinse your mouth with water afterward to help neutralize acids.
  • Practice Mindful Chewing and Biting: Avoid using your teeth as tools to open packages or bite on hard objects like ice. Be mindful of not applying excessive force or pressure when chewing.
  • Avoid Tobacco Use: Tobacco products can contribute to tooth abrasion and other dental problems. Quitting smoking or using other tobacco products can greatly improve your oral health.

Final Thoughts

Tooth abrasion is more than a dental concern; it's an opportunity to revamp your oral care routine. Understanding this issue is just the beginning. The real magic happens when you put that knowledge into practice, blending prevention with proactive treatment. 

Zimba is at the forefront of this approach, revolutionizing dental care with our gentle yet effective teeth whitening solutions. It's about making smart choices, like selecting the perfect toothbrush, and incorporating natural remedies into your daily regime. Each small step you take is a giant leap towards maintaining a smile that's not only dazzling but also robustly protected against tooth abrasion. 

With Zimba leading the charge, your dental care routine transforms into an adventure, where your smile isn't just bright – it's a beacon of health and resilience, ready to face down the sneaky foes of tooth abrasion.

For additional topics of interest, check out:

Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Abrasion

Is tooth abrasion painful?

Tooth abrasion itself is not typically painful. However, if the abrasion exposes the dentin layer beneath the enamel, it can cause tooth sensitivity and discomfort.

Can tooth abrasion repair itself?

Unfortunately, tooth abrasion cannot repair itself. Once the enamel is worn away, it cannot regenerate. Seeking dental treatment is necessary to prevent further damage and maintain oral health.

Is tooth erosion the same as tooth abrasion?

No, tooth erosion and tooth abrasion are not the same. Tooth erosion is caused by acids that dissolve the enamel, while tooth abrasion is the physical wearing away of enamel from repetitive actions such as aggressive brushing or using abrasive toothpaste.

Can tooth abrasion cause pain?

Yes, tooth abrasion can cause pain if it exposes the sensitive dentin layer. This can result in tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks.

What to do with a scratched tooth?

If you have a scratched tooth, it is important to consult a dentist. They can evaluate the extent of the damage and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as dental bonding or filling, to prevent further complications.

Are children prone to tooth abrasion?

Children may be more prone to tooth abrasion due to their developing oral hygiene habits. Brushing too vigorously or using abrasive toothpaste can contribute to tooth wear. Supervising children's toothbrushing and teaching proper techniques can help reduce the risk.

Are there particular teeth more prone to tooth abrasion?

Incisors and canines, which are the front teeth, are more susceptible to tooth abrasion. These teeth are often the first to come into contact with abrasive actions, such as vigorous brushing or biting on hard objects.

Could tooth abrasion be a sign of other oral health problems?

Tooth abrasion itself is not a direct sign of other oral health problems. However, it can be associated with certain conditions, such as bruxism (teeth grinding) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you suspect an underlying issue, it is best to consult with a dentist for a proper diagnosis.

How can I rebuild my tooth enamel naturally?

While you cannot naturally rebuild tooth enamel once it is lost, you can take steps to prevent further wear and protect the remaining enamel. These steps include avoiding acidic and sugary foods and drinks, maintaining good oral hygiene practices, using fluoride products, and seeking professional dental care.

How common is tooth abrasion?

Tooth abrasion is relatively common, particularly among individuals who engage in habits such as aggressive tooth brushing, using a hard-bristled toothbrush, or frequently consuming acidic beverages. The prevalence can vary widely, depending on these and other lifestyle factors, as well as awareness and preventative dental practices.


  • Milosevic, A. (2017). Abrasion: A Common Dental Problem Revisited. Primary Dental Journal, 6(1), 32–36.
  • Forbes-Haley, C., Jones, S., Davies, M., & West, N. (2016). Establishing the Effect of Brushing and a Day’s Diet on Tooth Tissue Loss in Vitro. Dentistry Journal, 4(3), 25.
  • Shetty, S., Pitti, V., Satish Babu, C. L., Surendra Kumar, G. P., & Deepthi, B. C. (2010). Bruxism: A Literature Review. The Journal of Indian Prosthodontic Society, 10(3), 141–148.
  • Warnakulasuriya, S., & Muthukrishnan, A. (2018). Oral health consequences of smokeless tobacco use. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 148(1), 35.
  • Singh, A., & Purohit, B. (2011). Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 2(2), 64.
  • Kato, M. T., Magalhães, A. C., Rios, D., Hannas, A. R., Attin, T., & Buzalaf, M. A. R. (2009). Protective effect of green tea on dentin erosion and abrasion. Journal of Applied Oral Science, 17(6), 560–564.