Good dental hygiene begins with brushing and flossing routinely. Most people know by now that they should brush their teeth for about two-minutes, twice-a-day. What they may not know is the potential damage they could be causing their teeth by over-brushing. It’s also important that brushing is done correctly, not just the amount of time they brush.
Toothbrush abrasion occurs when one applies too much force while brushing, typically with a medium or hard-bristled toothbrush. It’s estimated that approximately 20% of adults have damaged their teeth in some way by brushing too vigorously. When abrasive toothpaste is added, tooth structure can be harmed significantly in a relatively short amount of time.
The enamel (the external layer of the tooth) is the strongest part of our body—even stronger than bone. However, despite its durability, over-brushing can weaken our enamel, making us susceptible to germs and cavities. In addition to the erosion of this important protective layer, vigorous brushing can lead to gum recession—which could result in exposed roots, sensitive teeth, and premature tooth loss. Root structure is not covered by enamel, and the dentin of the root is much softer than enamel. So, when roots are exposed, toothbrush abrasion occurs much more easily, causing notches on the roots of the teeth that can cause tooth sensitivity and even lead to pulp death.
So, if you feel like you may be applying too much force while brushing, use these helpful tips for preventing tooth abrasion:
– When brushing your teeth, keep the toothbrush head at a 45-degree angle to your gumline.
– Use short circular strokes rather than a horizontal scrubbing motion.
– Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
– Use two fingers and your thumb to hold the toothbrush rather than a full grip to avoid applying too much pressure when brushing.
– Visit Dr. Huff routinely for dental exams and for professional hygiene therapy.