A Guide To The Dangers Of Over Brushing Our Teeth

The dangers of over brushing teeth are very real and cause genuine damage to your teeth and gums. Here's what to know and how to prevent this

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August 29, 2019
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We all know the benefits of keeping on top of our oral hygiene. Many of us will have been taught how and when to brush our teeth from a very early age and have probably practiced certain dental hygiene habits for many years. Most people tend to brush at least twice a day, with some brushing after every meal and before bed. We’re told that frequent brushing is one of the best ways to keep our teeth looking and feeling clean and healthy. But we can sometimes be a little over enthusiastic when it comes to caring for our pearly whites and over brushing your teeth could lead to some very undesirable consequences. Below are some of the main dangers of over brushing:

Toothbrush Abrasion

According to a dentist in South Melbourne, brushing your teeth with too much force could lead to tooth abrasion. Tooth abrasion is when your tooth enamel and cementum (the substance that protects the root of the tooth) is worn down. Although enamel is one of the strongest substances in our bodies, once it has worn away, it is impossible for the body to restore. Using a toothbrush with hard bristles, using abrasive toothpaste and vigorous brushing could lead to enamel abrasion over time. Habits such as biting your nails, holding hard objects such as pens or pins between your teeth and opening bottles with your teeth can also lead to tooth abrasion.

If you start to notice discoloration or sensitivity to hot or cold drinks these could be the first signs of enamel abrasion.

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Gum Recession

Another danger of being too heavy handed with your toothbrush is the risk of gum recession. When gums recede, the cementum on the root of the tooth can become exposed. Cementum is a lot softer than tooth enamel and therefore is much more vulnerable to decay and erosion. Similar to tooth abrasion, gum recession is irreversible. What’s more, gum recession can lead to tooth sensitivity, pain, and may require surgery in some severe cases.

Tooth Sensitivity

Enamel protects the nerves within our teeth so when this is worn away or eroded due to over brushing this can lead to teeth becoming sensitive. This is due to the nerve endings in our teeth being either so close to the surface of the tooth, or being completely exposed in some severe cases. If your teeth have become sensitive to hot or cold drinks or you are experiencing discomfort when brushing your teeth, this could be a telltale sign that you’re being too forceful with your toothbrush. If you feel that you may be over brushing and therefore damaging your tooth enamel, it may be a good idea to switch to a softer toothbrush. You should also avoid certain oral hygiene products such as whitening toothpaste that can often be too abrasive and lead to tooth sensitivity.

Many of us are guilty of using too much pressure when brushing teeth. One way of knowing if you are applying too much pressure is to check your toothbrush. Are you having to replace your brush every couple of weeks? Do the bristles of your brush become flat or frayed? If so it may be time to rethink your brushing habits. Here’s how to brush teeth correctly and avoid over brushing:

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  • Always opt for a brush with soft or extra soft bristles. Softer brushes with gently clean your teeth and remove surface stains without damaging your enamel or gums.
  • Opt for toothpaste and mouthwash that aids in strengthening the tooth enamel.
  • Brush your teeth for no longer than 2 minutes at a time.
  • Use small back and forth or circular strokes when brushing and focus of one or two teeth at a time.
  • Using very light pressure work your way around your mouth. Brushing the inside, outside, top and bottom of each tooth.
  • Be sure to brush your tongue thoroughly in order to remove bacteria and keep your breath smelling fresh.

Summary

In short brushing your teeth with too much force will never give you the healthy teeth we all desire. So if you are serious about your dental hygiene be sure to invest in the correct tools for the job and adopt a gentle yet effective brushing technique.