You’ve been told since childhood that brushing your teeth consistently is one of the best ways to prevent cavities and preserve your smile. However, it has to be done correctly. What can happen if you brush your teeth too vigorously? Can it jeopardize your oral health? As you continue reading, a dentist in Houston provides some expert insight.
The Downsides of Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
In an attempt to get your teeth as clean as possible, you may be tempted to apply more force when brushing. Instead of accomplishing your goal, being too aggressive could lead to tooth sensitivity and gum recession (also referred to as tooth abrasion).
This can cause a series of problems, including periodontitis (gum disease) and cavities at the root level, requiring such treatments as fillings, root canal therapy or a tooth extraction. According to recent statistics, up to 20% of the population have damaged their teeth due to overbrushing. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to go back to the basics – relearning how to brush correctly and safely.
Proper Brushing Technique
When brushing your teeth, it’s more important to use the correct technique than to apply loads of pressure. You’ll get much better results from thoroughly covering the surfaces of your teeth and brushing for at least two minutes each session.
Here are some additional tips to help you out:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent wear and tear to the enamel, which can leave the more sensitive dentin (the less mineralized layer of tooth found just under the enamel) exposed.
- Place the head of your toothbrush with the tips of the bristles at a 45-degree-angle to the gumline when brushing.
- Move the toothbrush with short strokes and a scrubbing motion several times in each spot. Also, be sure not to saw back and forth across the teeth with your toothbrush.
- Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums. If you are flattening the bristles, you’re brushing too hard.
Another Way to Protect Your Teeth
In addition to avoiding brushing your teeth too hard, you’ll benefit greatly from visiting a local dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups. While you’re in-office, your teeth and gums will be examined to make sure there aren’t any signs of gum and tooth enamel wear that need to be addressed.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that, although you’ve been brushing your teeth for decades, the dentist and dental hygienist always have some great pointers to share. By implementing them, you can enjoy a healthy and attractive smile!
About the Author
A graduate of the University of Texas, Dr. Donald F. Tamborello has been practicing dentistry for over 30 years. Throughout his tenure, he has placed an emphasis on preventive care and proper dental maintenance as key means of maintaining a healthy set of ivories. A Master of the Academy of General Dentistry, Dr. Tamborello eagerly pursues more knowledge by taking several hours of continuing education annually. He offers comprehensive dental care at Tamborello Dental Associates, and he can be reached for more information through his website.