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Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Tooth Brushing?

women over-brushing her teeth

We all know that we have to brush our teeth regularly in order to have healthy teeth and gums as well as a fresh breath. However, dental experts have now said that there is too much of a good thing as well. If you over-brush, you can develop toothbrush abrasion. This, in turn, leads to receding gums and sensitive teeth.

Toothbrush Abrasion
Through toothbrush abrasion, a number of problems can be caused. This includes:
• Wearing down the enamel, the protective surface of your teeth.
• Pushing back the gums and damaging the gums, which will expose the root area.

Although this in itself is bothersome if nothing else, the consequences of it can be far more severe. Once your gums get pushed back and start receding, various other dental problems can occur. Cavities in the roots become more common, as does periodontal disease. If left untreated, this can lead to needing to extract teeth, having a root canal done and requiring various fillings.

Incidents of Over-Brushing
You may think that over-brushing isn’t common at all. After all, we forever see warnings in the news and popular media about the need of brushing our teeth more frequently. However, dentists estimate that between 10 and 20% of the population actually has tooth damage because of abrasion. There are a number of people who are more at risk of over-brushing than others. These include:
• Those who are almost obsessively diligent about their oral health.
• Those who use a toothbrush that has very hard bristles.
• Those who have a genetic predisposition of developing receding gums.
• Those who clench their jaws or grinds their teeth.
• Those who have had to wear braces.

If you want to remove plaque, you don’t have to brush very diligently. Indeed, plaque is actually very soft and could be removed by something as soft as a rag. The issue with plaque is that it likes to hide in hard to reach places. This means you have to be thorough, rather than aggressive. Indeed, by brushing very hard, you will not actually achieve any additional benefits.

If you suspect you are suffering from toothbrush abrasion, you can reverse the problem, or at least make sure it doesn’t get worse. This is achieved by understanding the proper brushing techniques. If you do already have a serious problem, ask your dentist to fill in any grooves that are starting to appear with bonding material.

The Right Way to Brush Teeth
The technique you use when brushing your teeth is the most important thing of all. For truly thorough cleaning, you have to brush for between two and three minutes twice a day. Other important tips include:
• Using a toothbrush with soft bristles, so your gum does not get damaged. If you usually use a hard bristled brush, switch to medium first.
• When you brush, the head of your toothbrush should be at a 45 degree angle facing your gum line.
• Scrub your teeth, using short strokes. Repeat in the same spot, rather than sawing all of your teeth in one go.
• Do not put too much pressure on the brush. If you can just say feel the bristles, you are applying enough pressure. If the bristles get squashed, you are applying way too much pressure.

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