Over Brushing: Is It Bad for Your Teeth?

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Over Brushing: Is It Bad for Your Teeth?

Over Brushing: Is It Bad for Your Teeth?

The concept of oral hygiene and regular brushing and flossing is ingrained in our heads at a young age. We are told to brush at least twice per day and that brushing helps to remove bacteria, plaque, and some surface stains. 

But, is it possible to brush too hard or too much? Is over brushing a thing and if so, is it bad for your teeth?

Keep reading as we delve into the idea of over brushing, what it means, and how it impacts your oral health.

Over brushing

Caring about your oral health is important; however, it is actually possible to take it a step too far.

What is over brushing?

Over brushing your teeth refers to how often and in what manner you clean your teeth. This occurs when you unnecessarily go beyond routine care and brush too frequently or with excessive pressure. 

Routine tooth brushing should occur at least twice per day. However, some patients feel the need to brush after every meal thinking that is even better for the teeth. In actuality, brushing too frequently can be too much of a good thing. 

Can over brushing damage your teeth?

Yes, you can over brush your teeth and cause damage. Excessive tooth brushing can lead to problems such as abrasions, tooth sensitivity, and even gum recession. Oftentimes, we consider these problems part of poor oral health and decay. However, with too much brushing, the same results are possible.

Dental abrasions can occur with the over enthusiastic use of a toothbrush. The enamel is worn away. Signs of dental abrasions appear as small v-shaped ridges on the teeth. Increased tooth sensitivity is another sign of enamel damage.

Brushing too frequently can also lead to receding gums. Once the gums begin to recede, bacteria can collect in the pockets around the teeth. This leads to more severe gum disease and even tooth loss.

Too hard vs. too much

Knowing exactly how to brush using the proper amount of pressure and for the specified amount of time is important for your oral health.

Is it possible to brush your teeth too much?

While it may sound silly, yes, you can brush your teeth too much. As mentioned above, too much enthusiasm for dental care causes damage to the teeth and gums. Instead, brush your teeth twice per day for two minutes each time. There’s no need to go above and beyond unless you have just consumed a staining or sticky substance. 

In addition, watch the amount of pressure you apply to your teeth as that can also be rough on your gums or damage your enamel. If you have a heavy hand, consider using an electric toothbrush with different levels of force so you have better control over the pressure.

Can you brush away dental problems?

Regular brushing and flossing are recommended to reduce the likelihood of decay and gum disease. With routine care, you can prevent plaque and bacteria from building up on your teeth and spreading into your gums.

But, is tooth brushing enough to reverse active cavities and decay? That depends. If you have decay or gum disease at the absolute earliest phases, it is possible to reverse it with the proper care. This means good oral hygiene at home and prompt attention from your dentist.

However, once decay or periodontal disease have progressed beyond the initial phase, you cannot reverse them. Your dentist must address the problem with proper treatment to prevent the spread of dental diseases.

how to properly brush your teeth

How to properly brush your teeth

To prevent damaging your teeth and gums with excessive dental care, consider the following tips to properly care for your teeth.

Use a fluoride toothpaste

Toothpaste with fluoride provides protective benefits for your teeth. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and helps remineralize the teeth. It can strengthen weak spots on the tooth. For sensitive teeth, the fluoride may help build up the tooth enamel to strengthen the teeth. 

Brush with soft bristles

A soft-bristled toothbrush is gentle on your teeth and reduces the likelihood of abrasions. This is especially important if you have dental restorations, as they are not as durable as natural teeth meaning tiny scratches are possible. Also, if you tend to apply too much pressure, the soft bristles are gentler on your teeth.

Brush twice daily

Read that again. Brush twice daily.

You do not need to brush numerous times per day or after every meal. Twice per day – morning and night – will suffice. Brushing at night is especially important as that removes the bacteria, food particles, and plaque from the day so they do not sit on your teeth overnight.

Use the proper brushing technique to remove plaque from the outer layer of your teeth. Brush in a circular motion and be gentle around the gum tissue.

Replace your toothbrush

Your toothbrush gets old and less effective with age. Brushing with bent or broken bristles does not adequately clean the teeth. If you use a regular toothbrush, replace it every 12-16 weeks. For electric toothbrushes, replace the head in the same time frame. 

You’ll notice a difference in the bristles and your level of clean with a new toothbrush.

Floss your teeth

Flossing is just as crucial to your oral health as proper brushing. Flossing daily removes particles that are stuck between your teeth. Your toothbrush can’t access the tight spots between your teeth or hard-to-reach spots at the back of your mouth. Flossing is necessary for a deeper clean.

Remember to gently floss around your gum line to avoid causing damage. 

Use a mouthwash

Round out your oral care routine with mouthwash. Not only does it freshen the breath, but also it gently washes away bacteria and food particles from hard-to-reach areas. Mouthwash gets into the areas your toothbrush and floss may miss. Consider using a fluoride mouthwash to prevent tooth decay or a rinse with antimicrobials to help kill bacteria.

Don’t let over brushing damage your teeth

If you brush your teeth too frequently or with too much pressure, speak with the experts at Aten & Garofalo Dentistry. Our dental team can provide you with education and tips for proper dental care as well as provide treatments to restore your enamel and to protect your teeth. 

For comprehensive dental care in Ballantyne, contact the team at Aten & Garofalo Dentistry.

How to Prevent Common Dental Problems

How to Prevent Common Dental Problems

Dental problems, no matter how common, aren’t something you want to have. Thankfully, most problems are avoidable with proper oral care. Good oral hygiene includes:

  • Brushing at least twice per day
  • Flossing daily
  • Using mouthwash and/or an oral irrigator
  • Replacing your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3-6 months
  • Visiting the dentist for a routine cleaning and examination

What are the most common dental problems?

Read on to learn more about the most common dental problems, their symptoms and causes, and how to prevent them. Educating yourself can help you avoid potential oral health problems and keep your oral cavity healthy.

Bad breath

Bad breath can be embarrassing, and it isn’t always due to eating foods with garlic or onions. Patients who constantly have bad breath may have a condition called halitosis. 

Halitosis is an oral condition that is often caused by poor dental hygiene. It may indicate the presence of bacteria in the mouth. Additionally, bad breath may signal an underlying condition, such as gum disease, tooth decay, oral cancer, or dry mouth. 

An examination with a dentist is necessary to evaluate and treat the cause of your bad breath.

Tooth decay

As one of the most prevalent diseases, tooth decay is nearly as widespread as the common cold. In fact, studies show that 91% of adults over age 20 have had cavities. It is equally concerning that 27% of adults have untreated decay. 

Early signs of decay include dark spots on the tooth, sensitivity, and visible pits in the tooth. Diets high in sugar and poor oral care can lead to tooth decay. When plaque builds up on the teeth due to sugary foods and isn’t removed properly, it forms tartar. The acids in plaque begin to break down the tooth enamel.

Tooth decay goes through stages and is easily treated when caught early. Left untreated, decay can lead to tooth loss.



A toothache or tooth pain is an early sign of many oral problems, or at least the sign that often gets our attention. Additional symptoms of a toothache include headache, jaw pain, fever, and swelling around the tooth.

Pain that is severe or doesn’t subside requires professional attention. It is often the reason for dental emergencies. Your dentist can perform an examination to  determine the cause of your toothache. The pain may be due to a chipped or broken tooth, severe tooth decay, an infected or abscessed tooth, or a damaged filling.

Treatment for a toothache depends on the underlying cause but may include a root canal, crown, or filling


Like tooth decay, gum disease is a very common dental issue. According to the CDC, 47% of adults in the United States over age 30 have some form of gum disease. 

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease and is the only phase that is reversible. Signs of gingivitis include red, inflamed, or bleeding gums. Poor oral hygiene is often behind the formation of gum disease. Additional risk factors include smoking, genetics, age, certain medications, and dry mouth.

With early treatment, gingivitis is the only stage of gum disease that is reversible. The more advanced stages can be monitored and slowed but not reversed. Tooth loss is possible if gum disease progresses.

Crooked teeth

Crooked teeth are common in children and young adults as their mouths try to make space for incoming permanent teeth. Using a pacifier or regular thumb sucking can cause alignment issues too. 

Although crooked teeth are often thought of as a cosmetic dentistry issue, they cause functional dental health problems too. Teeth that are misaligned have tight areas that make brushing and flossing more difficult. This means bacteria can build up and decay is possible. Also, misaligned teeth may create problems with the biting surface which affects chewing and speaking abilities.

Following good oral health habits and visiting the dentist regularly are necessary to keep the teeth healthy. Orthodontic treatments such as braces or Invisalign can address crooked teeth or alignment issues.

stained or discolored teeth

Stained or discolored teeth

What you eat affects your teeth as much as your body. Certain foods, drinks, and lifestyle choices cause yellowing or discolorations on your teeth. Red wine, coffee, tea, tomato products, and tobacco are the most common culprits for teeth staining.

You can prevent staining by following a good oral hygiene regimen. Additionally, if you do use the products above, rinse your mouth afterwards to keep the products from sticking. Visiting your dental hygienist regularly for teeth cleanings helps remove surface stains too and prevents tartar buildup.

If you are plagued by yellow teeth, you can use teeth whitening products to regain a bright smile. Professional teeth whitening treatments break through the stains to whiten the enamel.

Chipped or broken tooth

No one plans to chip or break a tooth, yet it still is a common dental emergency. Patients can damage the tooth enamel by biting into hard candy, falling, or taking a blow to the face during sports. If the tooth was weakened in any way, it may be more susceptible to damage from an impact.

If the unexpected occurs, remain calm but contact your dentist immediately. Depending on the severity of the damage, your dental team may recommend cosmetic bonding, a crown, veneers, or an extraction.

Going forward, you can try to prevent problems by using care when eating hard foods. Don’t bite down on hard candies or popcorn kernels. Additionally, if you participate in contact sports, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth.

Missing tooth

A missing tooth doesn’t just detract from your smile. It also causes functional and oral health issues. The adjacent teeth may shift and the underlying bone may deteriorate without a tooth root in place to keep it stimulated. The gap from the missing tooth is also a welcome environment for bacteria to collect and cause gum disease.

Tooth loss may occur due to poor oral hygiene, decay, gum disease, or trauma. Treatment options may include a dental bridge, implant, or denture. Options are available based on your tooth loss needs and financial budget.

Prevent dental problems with the best dental care in Ballantyne, NC

The best way to prevent oral issues is by maintaining a good oral routine. Brush your teeth. Visit your dentist regularly. By taking care of your mouth, you give yourself the best chance to prevent problems or to catch issues early.

If you are concerned about common dental problems, contact the team at Aten & Garofalo Dentistry for advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Our dentists provide high-quality, affordable dental care in Ballantyne. Book an appointment today.

Why Does My Tooth Hurt?

reasons your tooth hurts

Tooth pain can strike at any time. Unfortunately, pain is often the first noticeable sign of a dental problem. Oftentimes, it is a wake-up call announcing an issue.

What causes tooth pain and what should you do if your tooth hurts?

Understanding Your Toothache

Various dental issues can cause tooth pain. Depending on the underlying cause, you may have additional symptoms. Generally speaking, a toothache is a sign that you need to see a dentist

Learn more about the common reasons for tooth pain, additional symptoms, and treatment options.

Symptoms and Causes of Tooth Pain

When you have a toothache, you may experience more than just pain. Other common symptoms include:

  • Pain that occurs while chewing or putting pressure on the area
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Pain that radiates to the cheek, ear, or jaw
  • Bleeding or discharge around the tooth or gums
  • Swelling around the tooth or in the jaw

Tooth decay, infection, and gum disease are common triggers for tooth pain and sensitivity. However, medical issues such as sinusitis, ear infections, or a jaw injury can be confused for tooth pain.

Top 5 Reasons For Tooth Pain

If you do experience tooth pain, it is important to consult your dentist. Dental problems do not go away on their own and must be treated. Treating oral health issues earlier increases the likelihood of a positive result. Below are 5 common reasons for tooth pain.

1. Temperature Sensitivity

Most people prefer their foods at a particular temperature – hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Having a sensitivity to temperatures can be limiting at mealtimes. However, it can also signal a dental problem. 

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by:

  • Decay
  • Worn out enamel
  • A cracked or broken tooth
  • Loose fillings
  • Receding gums
  • Infection

Depending on the cause and severity, tooth sensitivity can sometimes be reversed by simply following good oral habits. Toothpaste or mouthwash designed for sensitive teeth may be recommended. These products help numb nerve endings, reduce pain, and strengthen tooth enamel.

If your temperature sensitivities persist or are severe, schedule an appointment with your dentist. You may have a more serious dental problem that requires attention.

2. Receding Gums

Receding gums are often a sign of periodontal disease. 

Healthy gums are light pink and firm. They do not bleed easily. Signs of gum disease include red, swollen, or bleeding gums. As gum disease spreads, pockets begin to form around the base of the teeth, the gums recede, and bacteria can cause infections.

When the gums recede, the tooth roots are exposed. This causes pain or sensitivity, especially to temperature changes. In severe cases, the teeth can become loose and may even fall out. 

Treatment is necessary for gum disease as it will only get worse without intervention.

3. Cavities

Also called tooth decay or caries, cavities are permanently damaged areas on the tooth. They are often caused by sugary foods, poor oral hygiene, and bacteria in the mouth. Dental cavities are one of the most common diseases in the United States, coming only behind the common cold.

Besides pain or sensitivity, additional symptoms of cavities include:

  • Visible pits in the teeth
  • Dark stains on the surface of the teeth
  • Pain when eating sugary substances

Left untreated, the damage from cavities grows larger and affects deeper layers of the teeth. A filling is necessary to prevent the decay from spreading by sealing out further bacteria and restoring the tooth. You can prevent additional cavities by brushing your teeth, flossing, and eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar.

4. Infection or Abscess

A bad toothache is often the first sign of an abscess. When an infection occurs around the tooth root, it can form a pocket of pus called an abscess. It can occur in the tooth root or in the gums and causes severe pain

Additional symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Temperature and pressure sensitivities
  • Facial swelling
  • A sudden rush of foul-tasting or smelling liquid as the abscess bursts
  • Swollen lymph nodes

An abscess requires treatment to clear up the infection and reduce the swelling. Even if the abscess ruptures and your pain subsides, the relief is only temporary. Dental care is needed to address the underlying problem. Treatment may involve draining the abscess, a root canal, or a tooth extraction.

5. Cracked Tooth

A broken or cracked tooth requires help from a dental professional. It is usually the result of serious tooth decay, a large filling that weakens the tooth, biting down on hard foods or candies, or a physical injury

Symptoms of a crack include pain when chewing, temperature sensitivity, pain that comes and goes, and swelling around the affected tooth.

When a crack occurs, it can appear as a small line in the enamel, fractured cusp around a filling, crack to the gum line, split tooth, or root fracture. Smaller cracks can often be repaired with little treatment. A tooth with a larger break that splits the tooth or affects the root may not be salvageable. 

Prompt treatment is important to preserve your natural teeth. The severity of the problem will determine the treatment used. Treatments may include restorative procedures such as a filling, bonding, or crown or emergency dental care such as a root canal or extraction. 

What to Do When Your Tooth Hurts

When tooth pain strikes, you want the pain to go away quickly. Contact your dentist first. While you wait, you may try home remedies to ease your symptoms until you can be seen.

Home Treatment

Try the following tips to help ease your toothache at home:

  • Use a saltwater rinse.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers to ease your discomfort.
  • Apply ice packs to reduce swelling.

Emergency Dentistry

The important thing to remember when tooth pain structures or in an emergency situation is to remain calm. Contact your dentist for an appointment or additional pain relief tips. Once you have an appointment, your dentist will work to ease your toothache, assess the issue, and treat the underlying problem.

As mentioned above, treatment will depend on the exact reason your tooth hurts. Your dentist may recommend fillings, bonding, root canals, crowns, or extractions.

Contact Aten & Garofalo Dentistry

If you experience tooth pain in Ballantyne, NC, contact Aten & Garofalo Dentistry for emergency dental care.

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