Why Do Teeth Chip as You Age?

We’ve all had those teeth loss dreams, but waking up to find our pearly whites intact is always a relief. However, when it happens in reality, even in a minor way like a small chip or break, it can be a frightening experience.

Identifying the cause of a tooth chip due to a fall or accident is straightforward. But if you’re wondering, “Why did my tooth chip for no reason?” it could be due to continuously practicing poor dental hygiene or neglecting to take care of your tooth enamel. Additionally, cavities can lead to enamel destruction, resulting in a weakened tooth structure.

Whether it happens while eating or randomly in the middle of the night, there’s typically an underlying issue that needs attention. Today, we’ll delve into the common reasons why teeth chip or break, what to do if it happens to you, and possible treatments that your San Diego dentist may recommend to restore your smile.

Chipped Teeth Problems

If the crack in your tooth extends down to the pulp, an infection might occur. Some signs of an infected tooth include discomfort while eating, temperature sensitivities, fever, a foul odor or sour taste in the mouth, and inflammation of the glands in the face and neck.

Neglecting your dental health can lead to dry enamel crystals, making your teeth more brittle and susceptible to decay and cavities. Chipped teeth can serve as a warning sign that you have underlying dental issues that require immediate care. Practicing good dental hygiene, such as brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes, can reduce the likelihood of tooth chipping.

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Now, let’s explore some of the common causes of teeth chipping:

1. Eating Hard Foods

While the outer layer of your teeth, known as enamel, can handle natural foods like vegetables, meats, fruits, and nuts, hard foods can cause serious damage. Chewing on things like ice cubes, hard candy, jawbreakers, or even your fingernails can gradually weaken your enamel. Over time, this damage can reach a point where your teeth are unable to handle the stress, resulting in chips and breaks. So, if you have a habit of crunching on hard foods, it’s essential to break the habit to protect your smile.

2. Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is an involuntary habit that involves clenching and scraping your teeth together. This condition can cause toothaches, headaches, jaw pain, enamel erosion, and even broken teeth. Grinding can be a natural reaction to stress and anxiety, or it can occur during sleep without you even realizing it. If you suspect you have bruxism and you’ve chipped a tooth, be on the lookout for symptoms and consult your local San Diego dentist promptly.

3. Advanced Tooth Decay & Cavities

Neglecting dental hygiene and having cavities can increase the likelihood of chipped or broken teeth. Cavities that are left untreated and reach an advanced stage can lead to a chipped tooth. This can occur due to poor oral hygiene, inadequate nutrition, excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption, acid reflux, or heartburn, which expose your teeth to stomach acids. When an advanced cavity penetrates through the enamel and reaches the dentin, your tooth becomes significantly weak and prone to chips, cracks, and breakage. Daily dental care is crucial in preventing cavities and maintaining oral health.

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4. Age-Related Wear & Tear

As we age, our dental health undergoes changes. Our teeth are exposed to acidic foods and drinks daily, causing natural breakdown of enamel. Therefore, the older we get, the more likely we are to experience chipped teeth. Recent studies have shown that individuals between the ages of 45-54 are more prone to cracked teeth. Regardless of the size of the chip, seeking emergency dental care is crucial to prevent further damage, infection, or tooth loss.

In case of a chipped tooth, it’s essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. However, dental emergencies rarely occur at convenient times. If you cannot immediately visit a dentist, there are a few steps you can take to care for your tooth temporarily. These include managing pain with over-the-counter pain relievers, rinsing with salt water to alleviate pain and swelling, and avoiding chewing with the affected tooth. For a complete guide on what to do if you lose a tooth, check out our blog on 7 Times You’ll Need Emergency Dental Care.

Depending on the severity of the chip, your San Diego dentist may recommend various treatments, including fillings, dental bonding and contouring, crowns, or root canals.

At Dental Express in San Diego, we empathize with the inconvenience of dental accidents at inopportune times. That’s why we prioritize your dental care by staying open six days a week, accepting walk-ins and same-day appointments. If you have any questions about a chipped tooth or other dental emergencies, feel free to give us a call. Our team is here to answer your dental health questions and provide the necessary care.

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Schedule your next appointment with Dental Express today. Your smile always comes first!

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