Learn More About Dental Attrition and Abrasion From Our Orland Park Dentist

Written by Dr. Zaibak on Mar 15, 2022

Dental enamel changes over time, and, in many cases, it changes due to attrition and abrasion. The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize the effects of attrition and abrasion. Today our Orland Park dentists are reviewing some facts on these conditions, as well as steps you can take to safeguard your smile. Let’s get started!


When we talk about dental “attrition” we are talking about the wearing away of tooth structure caused by tooth-on-tooth contact. Think about it: our top and bottom teeth make contact with one another all the time, whenever we eat, speak, or clench our teeth. And, while dental enamel is pretty strong and non-porous, it is by no means indestructible. Over time, attrition can cause your enamel to disappear completely, revealing the dentin beneath it.


Abrasion also refers to tooth wear, however, this type of deterioration is caused by outside forces, rather than other teeth, rubbing against our dental enamel. Perhaps the most common cause of abrasion is tooth-brushing. If the brush you are using is too firm, or if you apply too much pressure to your enamel, you will likely notice abrasion. Picking at your smile with metal or wooden toothpicks is another way that abrasion develops.

Protective Measures

The goal of preventive treatment is to slow the rates of abrasion and attrition that put your oral health at risk. With that in mind, you can:

  • Use fluoridated products to help strengthen dental enamel
  • Limit acid-exposure, as acids actually temporarily soften vulnerable enamel
  • Use appropriate dental tools to safely and gently clear away bacteria
  • Treat bruxism (dental grinding and clenching) before it creates too much damage
  • Minimize unhealthy habits, like chewing on ice and hard candies, to protect your enamel 

Ready to take control of your oral health and address attrition and abrasion head-on? Our Tinley Park dentists are here to help you—just give us a call to get started!