Is There Such a Thing As “Too Much” When Brushing Your Teeth?

Is There Such a Thing As “Too Much” When Brushing Your Teeth?

by Holly (SU)

We all know that one of the best things we can do to maintain good oral health is to brush our teeth for about two minutes, at least twice a day. In fact, many people brush after every meal, which can be just as beneficial. However, is it possible to have too much of a good thing when it comes to brushing? The answer may surprise you.

Tooth Abrasion

Indeed, vigorous brushing more than three times per day, and for longer than two minutes each time can irritate and damage your gums, causing them to recede. Worse, it can wear down your tooth enamel. That’s serious because, although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body and designed to fight tooth decay, over-brushing (also known as tooth abrasion) can damage this shield. It not only can make your teeth sensitive to hot, cold and sweet food and beverages but also make your teeth prone to cavities. In fact, dentists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal, estimated that up to 20% of the population has damaged their teeth and gums due to over-brushing.

Easy Does It

While brushing is a vital part of maintaining your oral health, knowing when, how, and how often to brush is just as important. Overdoing it not only wears down the enamel on your teeth, but it also pushes back your gum, exposing their sensitive root area. This can cause dental problems such as periodontal disease or cavities on the roots of your teeth, necessitating fillings, root canals, tooth extractions, or other treatments.

While it’s important to avoid and remove plaque from your teeth, aggressive brushing isn’t necessary. Plaque is a soft substance that develops on your teeth and, thus, can be removed with gentle brushing for a few minutes twice or three times a day.

Brushing Effectively

Effective tooth brushing is all about thoroughness and technique. Here’s how to do it …

First and foremost, you need to use the right kind of toothbrush to prevent enamel erosion. The American Dental Association issues its Seal of Acceptance to toothbrushes with soft bristles, free of any sharp or jagged edges. Whenever buying a new toothbrush, look for this seal on the packet and be sure to get the soft brush. You aren’t doing any favors by using medium to hard bristles unless you are scrubbing the tiles on your counter.

Next, be sure you are brushing your teeth correctly. Position the head of your toothbrush with the tips of its bristles at a 45-degree angle to your gum line. Then, brush your teeth in short strokes up and down, several times in each spot. Do not brush back and forth across your teeth. Make sure you are applying just enough pressure to feel the bristles against your gums. If the bristles are getting squashed, then you’re brushing too hard. It should take you no more than three minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth.

Mix it Up

Water picks and flossing are good, gentle ways to remove plaque and debris from your teeth and gum line, instead of aggressive brushing.

If you’re not sure whether you’re brushing your teeth properly, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist about the right technique. The experts at 360 Dental are here to help you maintain good oral hygiene and improve your smile. Call 360 Dental Group at 541-689-1645 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Binder today.