Chances are that you realize how important daily brushing and flossing is to maintaining good oral health. But you may have wondered whether it is actually possible to brush your teeth with too much intensity? According to dentists, the answer is yes!
The practice of over brushing, or simply brushing the teeth too frequently, has the potential to result in real damage to the teeth as well as the gums. The following article will address exactly what over brushing means, what types of harm it can do, and what steps you can take to avoid the problem.
The Real Risks of Over brushing
Routine tooth brushing is critical to the health of the teeth and gums, but dental professionals have come to understand that it is possible to take things a little too far. When excessive oral hygiene habits produce “toothbrush abrasion,” receding gums and tooth sensitivity can occur.
Brushing too vigorously can cause the outer layer of teeth to become worn down. When enamel is lost, there is less protection covering the teeth, and this can produce heat and cold sensitivity. In addition, over brushing can damage gum tissue and cause gums to recede. This leaves roots exposed and far more susceptible to decay and periodontal concerns.
Patients who run the greatest risk of damage to teeth and gums due to over brushing are those who aggressively brush with a medium- or a hard-bristled brush. There are some key signs to watch for that can signal an over brushing issue.
- Swelling or red discoloration of gums after tooth brushing
- Splayed toothbrush bristles
- Bleeding of the gums
- Receding gums
Given the above information, you may be curious to know how best to clean the gums and teeth so that no damage results.
Proper Tooth brushing Technique
The overall goal of tooth brushing is to get rid of plaque, the material known to produce decay. In order to eliminate plaque, a solid brushing method — not vigorous brushing — is key.
Moving the brush over the teeth with a gentle, circular movement is the perfect method of getting the enamel clean and eradicating plaque. A great way to accomplish this is to make use of an electric toothbrush, particularly if a conventional brush is not getting the job done properly. Proper tooth brushing technique includes the following:
- Using a soft-bristle brush
- Holding the brush at a 45-degree angle
- Use a circular brushing motion
- Use sufficient pressure to barely feel the brush bristles on the gum line
- Continue brushing for 2 minutes, spending 30 seconds for each mouth quadrant
With regard to frequency, brushing the teeth between two and three times per day is the right amount for most people. Brushing after each meal is a great way to thwart potentially problematic bacterial growth. However, it should be noted that you should allow one hour to pass after a meal before picking up a toothbrush, because immediate brushing can lead to enamel damage.
Another useful tip is to replace toothbrushes or brush heads every 90 days. This is because when bristles begin to fray, they run the risk of causing harm to gum tissues, which can be especially sensitive.
The problem of over brushing is a common one, but it is surprisingly easy to solve. If receding gums or tooth sensitivity are things you have noticed of late, get in touch with your dentist right away. Generally speaking, however, by following the advice provided above, you will be able to perfect your brushing technique and achieve the healthy, clean smile everyone wants.