Nipomo family dentist explains why teeth break

Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

dentist Nipomo

-Teeth are strong and designed to withstand the pressures of normal, daily use. However, they do crack or break on occasion, leading to discomfort, pain, and potential long-term dental issues. Dr. Douglas Ng., DDS of Nipomo Family Dentistry takes a look at the top reasons teeth break and offers solutions for improving oral health practices to keep teeth healthy and strong.

The leading reasons for teeth breaking include:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism), chronic grinding or clenching teeth exerts excessive force and friction on the teeth, leading to cracks and fractures.
  • Weak teeth—some individuals may have genetically weaker tooth enamel or dentin (the inner layer of the tooth), making their teeth more susceptible to breaking.
  • Tooth decay and fillings weaken the teeth, making them more prone to breaking under normal biting and chewing forces. Teeth with multiple or large fillings are weaker and more likely to break compared to intact teeth.
  • Biting down on extremely hard foods like popcorn kernels, hard candies, or ice can cause teeth to chip or crack.
  • Accidents, falls or blows to the mouth can directly damage and fracture teeth.
  • Frequent exposure to acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruits, sodas, and wine can gradually erode and weaken the tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to breaking.
  • As people get older, their teeth naturally become weaker and more prone to breaking due to years of wear and tear, reduced saliva production, and decreased ability to repair.
  • Lack of proper brushing and flossing can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and weakened tooth support structures, increasing the risk of tooth breakage.

The Nipomo family dentist says that prevention is always the best approach and practicing good oral hygiene is the first step. Addressing any underlying causes that damage teeth, and seeking prompt dental treatment for any cracks or fractures can help prevent further tooth damage and breakage. Practices that can help keep teeth in good health include:

  • Brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. Using an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce bacteria and plaque. Visiting the dentist every six months for cleaning and examinations and promptly addressing any oral health issues.
  • If teeth grinding is an issue, wear a nightguard to help protect the teeth. Practice stress-reducing techniques, meditation, or therapy, because stress can contribute to bruxism
  • Athletes can help prevent broken or cracked teeth by wearing a mouthguard.
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods like ice, hard candies, and popcorn kernels.
  • Try not to eat extremely hot and cold foods or beverages in quick succession, as this can cause teeth to crack.
  • Limit intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks that can erode enamel.
  • Include calcium-rich foods (like dairy products) and vitamin D (like fortified cereals) to strengthen teeth.
  • Don’t use your teeth to open bottles, tear packages, or cut objects.
  • Drink plenty of water to maintain saliva flow, which helps protect against tooth decay and wear.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking can weaken teeth and gums, leading to various dental problems that can increase the risk of tooth fractures.

If, despite taking every possible precaution, a tooth cracks or breaks, the Nipomo family dentist advises that there are several procedures for repairing and even replacing a tooth. Those options include bonding, veneers, crowns, and dental implants.

The most appropriate treatment depends on the location and extent of the crack or break, as well as the condition of the surrounding teeth and gums. Your dentist evaluates your situation and recommends the best option.

Dr. Ng has been providing families with dental care on the Central Coast since 2008 and has dedicated his career to providing the best care that dentistry has to offer. He is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, and Central Coast Dental Society. Service with local organizations includes membership in the SLO Chapter of the Spear Study Club and serving as the Continuing Education Chair for the Central Coast Dental Society.

Nipomo Family Dentistry
195 N Thompson Ave Suite #3
Nipomo, CA 93444
(805) 929-1888


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