When it comes to cleaning, the harder you scrub the better, right? Not necessarily. If you are treating your daily teeth cleaning session like scrubbing your floors, you are doing it all wrong. In fact, you could be causing more harm than good.
Brushing too hard is a common mistake that patients of all ages make. Not only can brushing too aggressively damage your teeth, it can also wreak havoc on the condition of your gums. Telltale signs that you need to lighten up is tooth sensitivity and receding gums. Brushing too hard can also cause worn down enamel and bone loss around the teeth. At its worst, your forceful brushing habit can even contribute to tooth loss.
It is important to keep in mind that your gums are soft and delicate tissues. They cannot withstand abrasive and harsh scrubbing from your toothbrush twice a day. When these gums wear down, the roots of your teeth are more exposed, which makes them highly sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
Your tooth enamel is the outermost layer of your tooth, which is what comes in contact with your toothbrush. While enamel is strong, it can still wear down with bad habits over time. Once your enamel wears thin, the soft (and sensitive) dentin layer is more visible – leaving you vulnerable to decay and discoloration.
Last but not least, patients should know that plaque is actually a soft substance that can be easily removed with mild to moderate force. It is essentially a buildup of bacteria, saliva, and food debris. Just aim your toothbrush at the gum line (where plaque likes to grow) and brush in small circular motions. Avoid using a harsh, back-and-forth motion when cleaning your teeth. Also, use a soft bristled toothbrush and hold it at a 45 degree angle. Try to grip your toothbrush lightly, as patients who tightly squeeze their brush often end up brushing harder.
Need more brushing tips? Regardless of whether you’ve been brushing your teeth for 5 years or 50 years, you can still improve your technique. If you’ve been scrubbing your teeth instead of brushing, try to change your habits sooner rather than later. At Gilreath Family Dentistry, we welcome the opportunity to help you care for your smile at home. If you already have signs of gum recession or worn enamel, let us know. We are confident we can restore your teeth at our Marietta office.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,