Have you ever spilled spaghetti sauce on your pant-leg before? The normal procedure is to rush to some water and scrub vigorously so you get the stain out of the clothing fibers. That aggressive, back and forth scrubbing helps in this situation, leaving you with stain-free pants. Although this aggressive scrubbing can help in instances such as this, when it comes to your mouth, teeth and gums, brushing harder to clean better is definitely not the best solution. When you brush your teeth too aggressively, you may actually be causing more harm than good and our family dentists in Ballston, Virginia will explain why that is here in this post!
Why should you watch how aggressively you brush?
There are many reasons why brushing harder actually harms your mouth more than it does good. Everyone desires a perfect smile. Whiter teeth, less plaque, the list of reasons why goes on. Some believe if more force is applied to the teeth while brushing, the toothbrush will actually remove more plaque, but this is not true. Over-brushing your teeth is actually very counter-productive for the health of your teeth and your gums.
The largest concern for over-brushing actually stems from erosion of your tooth enamel. When you brush your teeth too aggressively, you can actually erode the outer coating of your teeth, which is called your enamel, and leave it susceptible to cavities. People are also under the misconception that a firm toothbrush cleans better than a soft bristle toothbrush. These brushes are actually more harmful and pose a larger risk of enamel erosion than soft bristles.
How over-brushing teeth causes issues with your gums
There are many reasons why brushing harder actually harms your gums more than it does good. People who have plaque build-up on their teeth usually see some type of gingival recession take place. This causes the teeth to look longer and black triangles to appear between your teeth.
The same recession happens the harder your brush your teeth as well. Overbrushing your gums can cause them to recede and reduce in size, which could lead to exposing your tooth roots. Not only can this be unsighly, but it can lead to tooth/root sensitivity and cavities in spots you can no longer reach with your toothbrush.
What is the correct way to brush your teeth?
1. Pick the right kind of tooth brush! Our family dentists here at Ballston Dental Care can recommend the perfect type of toothbrush for your mouth here in our office! It’s important to make sure your toothbrush has soft and flexible bristles. Aggressive and hard bristles can wear down your tooth enamel and gum line at a faster rate and we don’t recommend buying brushes with hard bristles. It is also very important that you replace your toothbrush once every 2 to 3 months, or as soon as the bristles start to look worn or bent. Most modern toothbrushes have an indicator on them as well. When the toothbrush is new, the colors on the bristles are bright and vibrant. It becomes time to replace that brush when the bristles become dull in color and look “worn-out.” Replacing a $3-6 toothbrush is much more cost effective than using an old brush and possibly getting a costly infection.
2. Improve the way you hold your toothbrush. Always make sure you keep a light grip on your tooth brush, similarly to how you may hold a pencil. A lighter touch often leads to softer brushing and firmer grasps normally lead to pushing down harder than needed to clean your teeth effectively.
3. Brush your teeth in circular motions. Brush using a light circular motion, making sure your toothbrush is at a 45-degree angle against your gum line. Brushing at an angle is the best way to remove bacteria from the teeth without pushing the bacteria down below the gum line. A key idea here is if you see the bristles on the toothbrush are bending while you brush, you’re brushing with too much force!
4. Regular brushing and flossing pays for itself! This point might be obvious to some, but brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is critical to healthy teeth. Although this will help limit how much bacteria build-up there is, it’s also important to see your dentist regularly too as brushing & flossing will not remove all plaque that professional cleanings can.
5. Schedule regular cleanings with our dental office. It’s recommended that Dr. David Matney sees you in our office at least once every 6 months for a cleaning. By staying on top of your cleanings you can help avoid serious dental issues later in life.
Our dental team at Ballston Dental Care is ready to help restore your smile and make sure you’re brushing your teeth properly. Contact our office today and feel free to refer a friend as we always welcome new patients!