When it comes to brushing your teeth, harder isn’t better. You may think brushing hard will be more effective at removing stubborn food particles and plaque. However, scrubbing too hard can actually be harmful to your teeth. In any case, brushing hard is not necessary as both food particles and plaque are often soft and loose. When you brush too hard, your Clermont dentist will likely see the evidence in the form of damaged teeth and gums. So, how hard is too hard and how should you be brushing to achieve that fresh, clean feel?
Effects of Brushing Too Hard
You probably don’t give much thought to how hard you brush your teeth. After many years of brushing multiple times per day, the process is likely a habit. Unfortunately, brushing your teeth too hard can have a negative impact on your smile over time.
If you over-brush, you may have what is called toothbrush abrasion. Abrasion refers to the loss of cementum and tooth enamel caused by mechanical forces. Too much pressure alone can be harmful to your teeth and gums but combine your heavy-handed cleaning technique with a hard-bristled toothbrush and you have a recipe for disaster.
Brushing too hard can result in a wide range of symptoms, such as:
- Gum Recession – Over time, over-brushing can cause your gums to recede. This often occurs when the soft cementum on the roots of the teeth become exposed. Without protection, the exposed cementum wears away resulting in sensitivity and sometimes pain.
- Tooth Sensitivity – Abrasion and erosion can both cause the enamel layer of your teeth to wear down. When nerve endings close to the tooth surface become exposed, drinking or eating hot or cold drinks and foods can cause sensitivity.
- Darkened Teeth – If you are scrubbing too hard, you may notice that your teeth are a darker shade underneath the gums. This is because these “root surfaces” do not have enamel. If your gums start to recede, your teeth may appear less white than they were before.
The Best and Worst Toothbrushes
When it comes to toothbrushes, not all are made equal. In fact, some types of toothbrushes can actually contribute to over-brushing. Bristle variety is an important factor when choosing a toothbrush. Most local dentists agree that you should avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes which can actually damage the enamel, root surface, and gums. Even some medium-bristled toothbrushes can be too harsh. Instead, opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your teeth and gums.
Proper Teeth Brushing Techniques
Not everyone knows the proper brushing technique. First, pick up your soft-bristled toothbrush and position the head and bristles of the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum-line. Use short strokes and a gentle scrubbing motion to clean each surface of the teeth. Avoid scrubbing your teeth in a back-and-forth sawing motion which can contribute to damage. You only need to apply enough pressure to feel the bristles against your teeth. If the bristles appear squashed, then you are brushing too hard.
Hurrying through the toothbrushing process can result in mistakes, such as over-brushing. It is important to slow down when you are brushing your teeth to allow you to gently clean without missing any areas. Hancock Village Dental recommends brushing for a full two minutes or 30 seconds per quadrant in your mouth. You should also brush twice per day. By sticking to this schedule, you can help ensure that your teeth remain clean without causing harm.
Speak with Your Dentist in Clermont
Most dentists caution against vigorous teeth brushing and for good reason. While you may not notice the symptoms of brushing too hard at first, they will likely become more apparent over time. From gum recession to tooth sensitivity, toothbrush abrasion can cause a range of uncomfortable side effects. Want to learn more about the impact of brushing your teeth too hard or would you like to speak with a dentist in Clermont, FL about your concerns? If so, reach out to the dental professionals at Hancock Village Dental today.