Picture this: you’re freshening up in the bathroom when you realize something’s off with your smile. When you take a closer look, you realize there’s yet another chip on one of your teeth. What’s going on?

Teeth chipping isn’t an uncommon occurrence, and most of us will experience at least some kind of minor tooth damage over our lifetime. When it happens over and over again, though, it can become a major problem.

What causes teeth to keep chipping? If you’ve been struggling with little breaks and fractures, it’s time to get answers. Here’s what you should know about the most common reasons for frequent teeth chipping.

Grinding Teeth on Non-Food Items

In the absence of other health conditions, a chipped tooth can sometimes happen when we use our teeth for something other than food.

If you’re in the habit of crunching on ice, chewing pen caps, or using your teeth to open packages, stop! These habits can wreak havoc on your enamel, causing premature wear that weakens your tooth structure. Over time, it can even cause fractures or chipping.

Another common issue is mouth piercings, which some people don’t even realize can be a problem! If you have a mouth piercing that rubs against your teeth or interferes with your bite, you may damage your teeth enough over time that they eventually break.

Misaligned Bite

Sometimes, bite issues can force your jaw out of alignment. In addition to causing a spectrum of other problems, this can put excess pressure on some of your teeth.

When this happens, the repeated force of your bite can cause your enamel to wear down. This makes you more likely to have chipped or cracked teeth as well as jaw disorders like TMJ.

Teeth Grinding

Sometimes, tooth grinding happens when we’re unaware or barely aware of it. It can even happen as we sleep!

That’s the case with bruxism, the scientific name for tooth grinding. Stress, poor posture, and certain medications and health conditions can increase your risk of tooth grinding.

If you think you may be grinding your teeth at night, you may notice side effects like headaches, facial pain, and tooth sensitivity. More frequent chipped teeth are another common red flag! Ask your dentist about getting a mouth guard to wear at night, as this can sometimes help keep these symptoms at bay.

Accidents and Trauma

This is the most obvious cause of chipped teeth, as most people notice when an accident has caused tooth damage.

However, it’s still important to note that certain activities and occupations put you at more risk. Playing contact sports, skateboarding, or jobs with high injury rates like roofing or construction work can increase your risk of dental trauma.

Large Fillings

If you’ve ever had a large cavity filled, your dentist might have placed a filling that takes up the bulk of your tooth. These large fillings help protect the health of your tooth, but they can also increase the risk of bite issues.

As you bite down on the surface of a large filling while chewing, wear and tear can sometimes compromise the integrity of the filling or your tooth. This destabilization can cause tooth cracks and chipping, in the worst-case scenario.

Poor Food Choices

It might be surprising that certain foods can cause teeth to chip, but it’s true! Eating the wrong foods allows bacteria to thrive inside your mouth and under your gums.

Over time, this bacteria can start attacking your teeth, leading to dental cavities and weakened enamel. As the structure of your teeth weakens, your teeth become more likely to chip.

Popular foods that may weaken your teeth include:

  • Sugary snacks and beverages
  • Honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and other sweet syrups
  • Fruit juice (both natural and artificial)
  • Soda
  • Citrus fruits
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol

If you have concerns, talk to your dentist about any foods you think may be affecting your teeth.

Dry Mouth

Some people produce less saliva than others. This might seem like a minor detail, but it can make a major difference in your oral health.

Saliva is what our bodies use to naturally rinse and clean our teeth throughout the day. With less saliva, it’s easier for food particles to remain in place, allowing bacteria to develop.

Saliva is also crucial for the structure of our enamel, as it helps “remineralize” our teeth. This adds vital minerals like calcium, phosphorous, and fluoride back into our teeth. Without enough saliva, weakened enamel may be more prone to chipping.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Even when you have a healthy diet free of sugar and acids, poor hygiene can still wreak havoc on your smile. If you often skip brushing or flossing, you give bacteria more opportunities to attack your tooth structure.

As we’ve mentioned above, this can weaken your enamel over time. Because there’s little to no way for you to notice this structural change, you might not realize your enamel is damaged until you get a sudden tooth chip!

To avoid this, make sure you’re brushing and flossing as often as recommended. You can even opt for alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash and remineralizing toothpaste to improve your enamel health. Don’t forget to visit your dentist at least once every six months as well.


It’s unfortunate, but we’re all prone to more tooth damage as we age.

Enamel becomes thinner and more brittle as we grow older. With a lifetime of chewing, grinding, and exposure to acids and sugars, our enamel will also become weaker.

If you notice more chipped teeth as you grow older, even when you’re doing everything else right, it may be time to talk to your dentist about protecting your smile with sealants.

Get Help With Your Teeth Chipping

Don’t struggle alone with your teeth chipping! If you can’t figure out the cause or don’t know how to address it, our team can help.

At Alumni Dental Center, we offer a range of restorative treatments, from crowns to implants, to help with damaged teeth. We pride ourselves on being the trusted source of superior cosmetic dentistry for patients throughout the Lexington area. To restore your beautiful smile, schedule your visit today.