Have you ever spilled a drink on yourself and stained your jacket? The usual procedure is to rush to some water and scrub vigorously so you get the stain out of the clothing fibers. Aggressive scrubbing helps in this situation, leaving you with stain-free pants, but when it comes to brushing your mouth, teeth and gums, brushing harder to clean better is definitely not the best solution. When you brush your teeth too harshly, you might actually be causing more harm than good and our family dentists in Alexandria, VA will explain why that is here in this post!
Why aggressive brushing hurts your teeth.
There are a number of reasons why brushing more aggressively actually harms your mouth more than it does good. Some think that if more force is applied to the teeth while brushing them, the brush remove more plaque, but this is not true. Over-brushing your teeth can be very harmful to the health of your teeth and your gums.
The primary concern for over-brushing is the possibility of eroding your tooth enamel. When you aggressively brush your teeth, you can actually erode your enamel, thus leaving your teeth prone to cavities. People also tend to believe that a firm toothbrush cleans better than a soft bristle toothbrush which also is not true. These brushes are actually more harmful and pose a larger risk of enamel erosion than soft bristles.
How does aggressive brushing affect your gums?
There are many reasons why aggressive brushing harms your gums. People who have plaque build-up on their teeth usually see some type of gingival recession take place and this same effect takes place the harder your brush. This will cause the appearance of black triangles in between your teeth which makes your teeth look longer than they used to.
Over-brushing your gums can cause them to recede and reduce in size, which could lead to exposing your tooth roots. Not only can this be unsightly, but it can lead to tooth/root sensitivity and cavities in spots you can no longer reach with your toothbrush.
What is the proper way to brush your teeth?
- Choose the right tooth brush! Our family dentists here in Kingstowne, Virginia can happily recommend the ideal type of toothbrush for your mouth here in our office! It’s important to make sure your toothbrush has soft and flexible bristles. Aggressive and hard bristles can wear down your tooth enamel and gum line at a faster rate and we don’t recommend buying brushes with hard bristles. It is also very important that you replace your toothbrush once every 2 to 3 months, or as soon as the bristles start to look worn or bent. Brushing with an old brush may be ineffective at removing bacteria and food.
- Change the way you hold your toothbrush. Keep a light grip on your tooth brush, similarly to how you may hold a pen. A lighter touch often leads to softer brushing and firmer grasps normally lead to pushing down harder than needed to clean your teeth effectively.
- Brush in circular motions. Brush using a circular motion, making sure your toothbrush is at a 45-degree angle against your gum line. Brushing at an angle is the best way to remove bacteria from the teeth without pushing the bacteria down below the gum line. A key idea here is if you see the bristles on the toothbrush are bending while you brush, you’re brushing with too much unnecessary force.
- Regular brushing and flossing pays for itself! This point might be obvious to some, but brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is critical to healthy teeth. Although this will help limit how much bacteria build-up there is, it’s also important to see your dentist regularly too as brushing & flossing will not remove all plaque that professional cleanings can.
- Schedule regular cleanings with our dental office. It’s recommended that Dr. Phuong Phan sees you in our office at least once every 6 months for a cleaning. By staying on top of your cleanings you can help avoid serious dental issues later in life.
Our dental team at Phan Family Dentistry is ready to help restore your smile and make sure you’re brushing your teeth properly. Contact our office a call today and feel free to refer a friend as we always welcome new patients!