The masticatory (chewing) forces produced by our jaws during chewing can be up to 700 N (~70 kg). Softer, mushier food such as porridge would require lower chewing forces whereas harder food, such as biscuits and nuts will require stronger chewing forces.
Much like tyres on cars, if we have used our teeth to chew 3 times daily for many many years, it is inevitable that our teeth will wear over time.
This problem is exacerbated if teeth-grinding is done even when not chewing food. People are known to clench and grind their teeth when under stressful situations. This can happen when lifting weights at the gym or even while sleeping. This can cause the development of small cracklines, and eventually may extend into the pulp (nerve of the tooth).
Excessive wear facets, broken fillings, broken teeth, or soreness in the surrounding jaw muscles are among signs of tooth wear.
What can be done?
- A mouth splint or mouthguard can be made to be worn at night in order to reduce the effect of jaw-grinding while sleeping.
- Placing crowns or onlays on teeth can also help reduce the damage caused towards the natural tooth, instead directing the load towards the crown or onlay.