Why Are My Teeth So Worn Down?

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Why Are My Teeth So Worn Down?
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A problem that’s usually more noticeable as we enter our senior years, worn down teeth can present many oral health issues, as well as obvious cosmetic concerns.

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8 November 2022

If you’ve noticed your teeth appear to be getting shorter, you’re not alone. Many of us will experience significant wear on our teeth over our lifetime, causing them to slowly grind down and become smaller. A problem that’s usually more noticeable as we enter our senior years, worn down teeth can present a number of oral health issues, as well as obvious cosmetic concerns.

How Do Teeth Get Shorter?

It’s natural for your teeth to get smaller as you get older. After all, we use them every day!

Just as you might observe your serrated kitchen knives (or any other tools) becoming dull over time, the same thing occurs in our mouths — albeit for somewhat different reasons.

The wearing down of our teeth involves the slow erosion of our enamel, which is the outer coating of our teeth. By the time an average person is in their 30s, it’s not unheard of for a millimetre or so of enamel to be missing from their front teeth.

This occurs because of a number of reasons, including; irregular biting patterns, decay that’s been left untreated and, most commonly, the friction involved in chewing and biting. The process of erosion can also be exacerbated by many internal and external factors. The food and drink we consume, for one, will have a large influence on this. Highly acidic foods act to speed up the erosion process and an excess of sugar (carbohydrates) in our mouths forms the main food source for harmful bacteria.

Even our mental health can have an effect on this phenomenon, with high-stress environments leading to conditions like bruxism (teeth grinding) that will significantly wear down our teeth.

Conditions Caused By Worn Teeth

While shorter teeth will present cosmetic concerns for most, it’s not just all about aesthetics when it comes to tooth wear. There are a number of oral health conditions that can be caused by constant wear, such as:

  • Increased Tooth Sensitivity — Becoming highly sensitive to food and drinks that are hot, cold, sweet or acidic.
  • Discoloured Teeth — As the white enamel layer wears away, more of your dentin sub-layer is visible. Dentin has a naturally yellowed colour and can make your teeth appear stained.
  • Headaches, Jaw And Tooth Pain — A clear symptom of bruxism, chronic jaw pain and headaches are often associated with the grinding and clenching that causes tooth wear.
  • Infection, Decay and other Oral Health Conditions

How Do I Fix My Short Teeth?

The treatment recommended will depend on the severity of the case. If your concerns are on the cosmetic side, you may choose to undergo a full mouth reconstruction. This involves the crowning of all teeth, restoring length and achieving a brighter, whiter smile.

If you just wish to avoid any further wear, there are some simple steps you can follow, which include:

  • Eating a healthy diet that’s low in refined sugars and highly acidic foods
  • Asking your dentist about custom-made night guards (occlusal splints) to stop you from grinding at night
  • Correcting your bitting pattern with the use of orthodontic aids like clear aligners

Treatment Options At Innovative Dental

Worn-down teeth might be a problem that’s usually experienced by older individuals, but that’s all the more reason to focus on it now. By looking after your teeth and gums in your younger years, you can avoid conditions like this — or others that are much more serious. It’s critical to undergo regular dental checkups, practise good oral hygiene and endeavour to consume a healthy diet. All these things combined will not only allow you to have healthier teeth and gums but a healthier mind and body too!

For more information on the links between oral health and living a better life, visit our blog page. To make an appointment with Dr Naser Eshak at Innovative Dental Moonee Ponds, click here or call (03) 9346 8333 today.

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