What’s dental abrasion?

Dental abrasion occurs when you use a toothbrush or other implements that are too hard on your teeth and gums. Hard-bristled toothbrushes, excess pressure, or a habit of using your nails to clean your teeth can damage your tooth enamel and cause premature wear. What is dental abrasion?
How is it treated? How can you prevent it? Take a closer look at dental abrasion with this article from CDH.

The inside skinny on dental abrasion

  • Dental abrasion is tooth wear caused by external objects, 
  • It’s different from dental attrition and dental erosion, 
  • The best treatment for dental abrasion is identifying bad tooth care habits, scheduling a visit with your dental hygienist, and switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush, 
  • Its symptoms are tooth sensitivity and in some cases dental micro-fissures.

What is dental abrasion?

Dental abrasion is tooth wear that isn’t caused by chewing.

What causes dental abrasion?

The culprits behind dental abrasion

The most common causes of dental abrasion are:

  • Using a hard-bristled toothbrush with abrasive toothpaste,
  • Brushing horizontally,
  • Using too much pressure when you brush,
  • Bad habits, especially holding things between your teeth, like nails, hairpins, pins, or a pipe,

Gum recession often occurs before dental abrasion.

The symptoms of dental abrasion

If you have dental abrasion, your tooth enamel will wear away and lose much of its protective value. That can cause: 

  • hypersensitive teeth: pain when you eat sugary, salty, hot, and cold foods,
  • yellowed teeth, 
  • transparent edges on your incisors due to wear, 
  • lines can appear on your teeth and turn into dental fissures.

How is dental abrasion treated?

When dental abrasion appears, it means your enamel has been damaged and can’t be restored. So prevention is the best way to stop dental abrasion: 

  • make an appointment with your dental hygienist,  
  • identify the bad habits you have developed,
  • brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and remember to floss. 

Several solutions are available if you have severe dental abrasion: 

  • dental bonding, a procedure in which resin is applied to your tooth, 
  • crowns, 
  • gum grafts, 
  • and veneers, a permanent cosmetic procedure.

What are the differences between dental abrasion, dental attrition, and dental erosion? 

There are three types of dental wear, with different names based on what causes them. The differences may seem minor but can make a big difference when it comes to choosing the right treatment.

Dental abrasion

Dental abrasion is tooth wear caused by an external object like a toothbrush, something held in your mouth, or even your own nails.

Dental attrition

Attrition is natural tooth wear. In other words, it’s wear caused by repeated tooth-on-tooth contact. It creates easily-recognizable flat surfaces. Bruxism – a sleep disorder in which you grind your teeth and clench your jaws in your sleep – can cause or worsen attrition.

Dental erosion

Dental erosion occurs when your tooth enamel is attacked by chemicals. It is often linked to a diet high in acidic foods. It can also be caused by:

  • sugary foods, 
  • acidic foods, 
  • soda, 
  • gastric acid due to regular vomiting (like in certain eating disorders), 
  • excess vitamin C,
  • dietary supplements, 
  • certain medications.


What is air abrasion?

Air abrasion is a new micro-dentistry technique. Your dentist may use it to treat very minor cavities while preserving the healthy part of your tooth. It’s non-abrasive and is combined with resin to restore your tooth. 

Air abrasion is essentially a targeted jet of sand that abrades the part of the tooth that needs treatment instead of drilling.

What is dental microabrasion?

Microabrasion is a technique that can be paired with external whitening to treat dental fluorosis.

How to get in touch with CHD Dental Hygiene Clinic?

Feel free to contact the CHD Dental Hygiene Clinic by phone, email, or WhatsApp. We are delighted to welcome you in our dental clinics in Geneva, Meyrin, Lausanne, and most recently Yverdon!