What Is Tooth Cupping?

Brunette woman covers her mouth with her hands due to embarrassment about her tooth cupping

Over time, damage to your teeth can change their shape and size. Tooth “cupping” refers to enamel erosion that causes the teeth to form an indentation that resembles a cup. Although somewhat rare, tooth cupping and other forms of dental erosion can be problematic for the health of your teeth. The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent tooth cupping and other forms of long-term damage to your smile.

Enamel Erosion & Oral Health

The enamel is the outer layer of your teeth. It’s a durable white cover that protects the underlying layers, the dentin and pulp, from damage. The enamel is susceptible to damage in a number of ways. Acids break down the enamel when sugar from food is eaten by bacteria in the mouth. This can lead to a wearing away of the enamel that can decay or holes, called cavities. Tooth enamel can also become damaged from poor oral hygiene, tobacco products, and chronic clenching or grinding, which is known as bruxism.

Common Types of Enamel Erosion

Impressions and indentations that form in the teeth are attrition, abrasion, erosion, and abfraction. Attrition happens when teeth rub or grind against each other. Abrasion happens when external forces, like abrasive chemical or food substances, wear away the enamel. Erosion is damage caused by the acidic environment created by well-fed bacteria. Abfraction comes from forceful, repetitive stress like teeth grinding.

How to Prevent Enamel Erosion

With proper dental care, you can prevent enamel erosion in your teeth. First and foremost, daily dental hygiene is imperative. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, floss every day, and brush your tongue daily. Be sure to keep sugary drinks and foods at a minimum, as these encourage the acidic environment that leads to erosion. If you know you grind your teeth at night, consider ask us about a custom-fitted nightguard. If you are on medications that cause dry mouth, be sure to stay hydrated and rinse out your mouth after eating. Avoid tobacco products, and chew only sugar-free gum. These small steps can make a huge difference when preventing tooth cupping and other dental damage.

More Questions? We Have Answers!

If you take good care of your teeth, you'll keep your enamel lustrous and strong for years to come! Let us know at your next appointment if you have additional questions about dental cupping or other forms of erosion. We will always assess the health of your teeth at routine examinations and tell you if we see damage that needs to be addressed. So contact us if it's time to schedule your next checkup!

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