6.2.5  Eroded or broken teeth

Cracked or broken teeth can be caused by personal habits such as biting pens or chewing hard items like khat, hard grains and nuts. Chewing khat wears down the teeth over many years. Elderly users of khat may have to grind the leaves and mix the green paste with water (Figure 6.8) because their teeth may have worn away completely after many years of chewing the tough leaves. Using your teeth as a heavy duty tool (e.g. for wire cutting or opening bottles) can damage the enamel and crack or break the tooth. This makes tooth decay more likely to occur.

Figure 6.8  (a) Khat being sold in a market in Adama, Ethiopia; (b) Khat ground with water by an elderly man whose teeth have worn away. (Photos: (a) Janet Haresnape; (b) Basiro Davey)

6.2.4  Tooth abscesses, mouth ulcers and cold sores

6.2.6  Oral cancer