Elmhurst Dentist Talks About The Realities of Attrition and Abrasion

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on Mar 15, 2022

Both attrition and abrasion are naturally occurring phenomena that affect the way that your smile looks and feels. This short article from our Elmhurst dentists gives you more need-to-know information about these occurrences that thin dental enamel…


Attrition occurs when our top and bottom teeth touch, gradually wearing away healthy dental enamel. Certain things can accelerate your rate of attrition, including poor enamel density, bite misalignment, and conditions like bruxism.


While attrition occurs due to enamel-on-enamel contact, abrasion refers to tooth wear that occurs when our teeth come into contact with foreign objects. Every time that you scrape your teeth with a toothpick, brush vigorously, or chomp on ice, you risk compounding abrasion. As with attrition, the first tooth layer affection by abrasion is dental enamel, followed by dentin, and dental pulp. 

Protective Measures

There are steps you can take to slow attrition and abrasion, and maintain a healthy and strong smile. For example…

  • Choose oral hygiene formulations that contain fluoride, as fluoride strengthens enamel
  • Use gentle oral hygiene tools and products
  • Treat bruxism (chronic dental grinding) promptly to minimize attrition
  • Try not to chew on hard candies, ice, pens etc.
  • Minimize acid-exposure—acidic foods and drinks temporarily soften enamel

Achieve a healthy and strong smile with a thoughtfully crafted dental plan from our Elmhurst dentists. Now is the time to take proactive steps to safeguard oral health—give us a call!