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6 - Tooth wear

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2010

Peter W. Lucas
Affiliation:
The University of Hong Kong
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Summary

OVERVIEW

It will be recalled from the last chapter just how dependent the rate of food breakdown is on tooth size. However, the exposed surfaces of the teeth are subject to wear, either from food, grit or opposing tooth surfaces. Wear threatens to destroy tooth shape, decreasing the rate of food breakdown and so jeopardizing a mammal's health. Insofar as the food input is responsible for this wear, the rate must depend on the characteristics of the food surface, i.e. on the external physical attributes of foods, because wear involves small-scale events involving the interaction of surfaces. Maintaining the argument from Chapter 1, I expect the evolved response to this threat to lie in adaptation of tooth size. This chapter follows through the logic of this argument and also tries to identify the major causes of tooth wear.

INTRODUCTION

Wear is the loss of volume of an object and results from a number of processes rather than just being one process in itself. It may often involve fracture, but the chemical dissolution of stony objects like teeth also comes under the same general heading. Teeth wear mostly on their working surfaces, but any other tooth surface exposed to the oral cavity can wear too. Movement of food by the tongue and cheeks against the teeth is sufficient to cause a small amount of wear (Fox et al.

Type
Chapter
Information
Dental Functional Morphology
How Teeth Work
, pp. 181 - 201
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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  • Tooth wear
  • Peter W. Lucas, The University of Hong Kong
  • Book: Dental Functional Morphology
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511735011.008
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  • Tooth wear
  • Peter W. Lucas, The University of Hong Kong
  • Book: Dental Functional Morphology
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511735011.008
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Tooth wear
  • Peter W. Lucas, The University of Hong Kong
  • Book: Dental Functional Morphology
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511735011.008
Available formats
×