How and Why Teeth Break

woman covering her teethIf you’ve ever heard that your teeth are among the strongest things your body produces, you might wonder why, then, do they so often crack and break? As Polk City dentist, Dr. Ryan Hussong explains, the answer is complicated. Yes, your teeth are comprised of a strong, bone-like substance called dentin, and surrounded by the most resilient substance your body produces—tooth enamel. However, to remain strong and resilient, your teeth need to be effectively cleaned and cared for on a routine basis. Poor hygiene or poor nutrition can leave teeth weak and susceptible to cracks, fractures, and breaks, as well as bacterial infections that lead to destructive cavities.

Weak from Neglect

Tooth enamel is your teeth’s main defense. It protects them from the pressures of biting and chewing while acting as a seal against infectious oral bacteria (which comprises the majority of sticky dental plaque). The highly-resilient layer is made of mineral crystals, mainly calcium and phosphate, which are depleted when your teeth are subjected to acids. Acidic foods and beverages, as well as acids produced by oral bacteria from metabolized sugar, can increase your risk of weak teeth, and weak teeth are considerably more likely to break.

Undue Force

Whether your teeth are strong or weak, accidents happen, and one of the most common ways teeth break is through traumatic force. Playing contact sports, like football, practicing martial arts, or being involved in an automobile accident can subject your face, jaw, and mouth to an injury that may break or completely knock out your tooth. If you’re going to engage in a physical activity, then wear a sports mouthguard to protect your teeth.

What to Do

Sure, good hygiene and regular visits to the dentist can help you keep your teeth strong, but not all broken teeth can, or could have been, avoided. If you have one or more broken teeth, even if they don’t cause immediate discomfort, then schedule a visit with Dr. Hussong to determine the extent of damage and the best way to restore your smile.


Dr. Ryan Hussong is a dedicated restorative, family, and cosmetic dentist who is passionate about helping patients create and maintain beautiful, healthy smiles. To schedule a consultation with us, call the Cornerstone Dental office today at (515) 984-6001. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Polk City, Ankeny, Grimes, Ames, Johnston, Urbandale, and Des Moines.