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.
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
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.