What kinds of fractures do teeth sustain and how do they resist disintegration? This study involved the mechanical loading of extracted human and sea otter teeth using hard and soft indenters to simulate hard and soft diets. The tests were accompanied by real-time imaging. At least three types of fracture were seen in the enamel - median, radial and margin cracks. Each kind of fracture appears to have a different cause, although the distinction between median and radial cracks blurs as they propagate. Only margin cracks appear to form under soft indenters. Several aspects of tooth form can be described as devices to limit damage to a tooth crown against the onslaught of hard or soft foods. The damage modes of teeth are paralleled by the behavior of some bilayered hard foods.