Brittle and fragile teeth can affect anybody at any age. If you’ve had several teeth break or chip, you may wonder why your teeth are fragile, and more importantly, if there is anything you can do to strength them. Brittle teeth can be caused by many different conditions or habits. Tracking down the particular factors in your own case can help point the way toward treatments that can help.
Many medical conditions can lead to brittle teeth. A genetic predisposition toward soft enamel may run in your family. Genetic disorders can also affect the dentin, the layer underneath the enamel. Both of these conditions can lead to weakened teeth that crack and break. Advanced periodontal disease can also cause brittle teeth. If left untreated, gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, can lead to more serious inflammation around the teeth and weakening of the bone. And just like other bones in our bodies, teeth can be weakened by the effects of osteoporosis, an overall weakening of the bones in the body, or renal disease, which can affect calcium absorption.
Other medical conditions can indirectly lead to brittle teeth if you are taking certain medications, due to their side effects. Drugs that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium can be particularly problematic when taken for long periods of time. Medications that inhibit the production of saliva can also make teeth fragile by creating conditions conducive to the loss of enamel, which leads to decay.
Certain personal habits also contribute to weakening your teeth. For example, while regular brushing is good, brushing your teeth too often or too forcefully can strip your enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay and breakage. In addition, the repeated stress and friction from grinding or clenching your teeth can wear down your enamel, leading to brittleness.
How and what you eat is of utmost importance in the health of your teeth. Eating and drinking highly acidic or sugary foods and beverages on a regular basis can weaken the teeth. Frequent snacking throughout the day damages enamel by keeping the teeth in a constantly acidic environment. Rapid changes in temperature from eating hot and cold foods in quick succession cause expansion and contraction in the tissues of the teeth, leading to cracking. Poor overall nutrition can lead to brittle teeth through vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Finally, research has shown that the dentin in teeth does grow more brittle with age. However, people with good oral hygiene and nutrition can often avoid developing brittle teeth from this factor alone.
Just as there are many causes for brittle teeth, there are many ways to treat them. An experienced dentist can help determine the cause of your brittle teeth, repair or replace already damaged teeth, and find appropriate treatment to improve your oral health. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hale, please call 818-999-0900.