Hearing that you should brush your teeth twice a day and maintain a healthy flossing regimen will probably not come as much of a shock. We’ve heard it since our first trip to the dentist. But what about over-brushing? In many cases, brushing too vigorously can cause extensive damage similar to that of under-brushing.
Toothbrush abrasion is a real thing; it is caused by forceful brushing that actually wears down the enamel on your teeth and causes root exposure under you gum line. Receding gums can be a major – and painful – problem! The exposed nerves are incredibly sensitive. Foods and beverages both too hot and too cold can cause pain. Even breathing in a mouthful of cool air could send a shock of pain through your mouth. Your exposed gums could also grow into greater problems, such as periodontal disease (i.e. gingivitis) or cavities. At that point, you would be in the market for some fillings at the very minimum, and may end of needing a root canal or even having a tooth pulled.
These are all very scary outcomes and most are something we generally relate to a lack of brushing. While that is true, it is important to remember not to “overachieve”. The plaque that resides on our teeth is very soft. To properly remove it, one must practice proper brushing technique, not intense brushing strength. The best way to brush your teeth is to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and direct the bristles slightly downward where your teeth meet your gums. Move your toothbrush in gentle, circular motions. Do not use a lot of pressure and do not saw frantically back and forth across your teeth. Take your time; two or three minutes is recommended.
You may leave the dentist’s office one day with new advice about bettering your brushing technique. This is definitely important and you should heed your dentist’s advice. But don’t overdo it; remember that thorough, gentle care is the best that you can offer to your teeth.