The Dentist Magazine.

Tooth wear increasing

Published: 10/02/2015

With National Smile Month approaching, we’re all keen to capitalise on the raised awareness to help promote, once again, the message of brushing and interdental cleaning.

But it seems we need to be more specific on our approach, with the Dental Health Foundation sharing that earrings, business cards, keys, matchsticks, screwdrivers and banknotes are commonly used to remove debris stuck between teeth.


The horror of it is not just related to hygiene (did you know that the average sterling bank note is home to 18,200 bacteria?) but also to tooth wear.


Tooth wear is on the increase, with over 75 per cent of adults and more than 50 per cent of children show signs of abrasion, attrition and/or erosion. Comparing the most recent Adult Dental Health Survey with its predecessor, figures suggest that in just 11 years the incidence of tooth wear in England has increased by 10 per cent.


It is imperative, therefore, that patients are made aware that anything other than an interdental tool designed for cleaning between the teeth can contribute to abrasion. In real terms for them – short, unattractive, rough and/or sensitive teeth that can result in speech and chewing problems, as well as jaw and muscle ache.


Where abrasion is present, it is prudent for the dentist or hygienist to demonstrate how to brush teeth without being too vigorous and to recommend the use of a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. It should also be mentioned to patients that foods with a rough texture can make matters worse.


The London Tooth Wear Centre offers an evidence based and comprehensive approach to managing tooth wear. To request advice, make a referral or for further information on the work of the London Tooth Wear Centre, please visit, email or call 020 7486 7180.