Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of good oral hygiene. Without regular brushing, you are at risk for all kinds of health problems. As important as brushing is, it is possible to overdo it. People who desire extra clean and extra white teeth put a lot of effort into thoroughly brushing their teeth, but they could actually be doing damage to their teeth if they’re brushing too hard.
There are a number of issues related to over brushing
- Damaged gums – Perhaps the most immediate serious result of over bushing is gum damage. The soft tissue of the gums can be worn away by brushing too frequently or with too much force.Additionally, over brushing can lead to bleeding gums, which act as an open door for germs and bacteria to enter.
- Risk of periodontal disease – Receding gums caused by over brushing makes you more vulnerable to other dental problems, such as periodontal disease.
- Not removing more plaque – If your goal is to remove as much plaque as possible, intense brushing is not the way to achieve it. Plaque is actually rather soft, and only requires gentle pressure to be removed. Instead of focusing on the strength of your brushing, you should focus on making sure all areas of your teeth get brushed.
- Making your teeth more sensitive – The roots of your teeth that become exposed after the gums recede are much more likely to be over-sensitive to things like hot or cold beverages.
- Eroding your enamel – Heavy brushing can damage the teeth themselves, not only the soft gums. Enamel erosion can also exacerbate teeth sensitivity.
- Not making your teeth any whiter – Not only does intense brushing not reduce plaque, it also doesn’t make your teeth whiter. The colour of your teeth comes from stains that are embedded in the tooth, rather than a substance on the surface.
- Actually make your teeth appear worse – Not only will over-vigorous brushing not improve the aesthetic appearance of your teeth, it can have a negative effect. If you wear away your gums, the exposed tooth and root under the gum line will often be a different shade then the rest of the tooth. This results in a visible contrast.
Avoiding over brushing is simple
- Soft-bristled toothbrush – Medium or hard-bristled toothbrushes can make over brushing even worse, so make sure to purchase and use soft-bristled ones. As mentioned above, plaque is relatively soft and often doesn’t need anything more than a gentle brushing.
- Don’t mash it down – Gentle pressure is all that is required. If the bristles of your brush are being squashed into your gums, then you are pressing too hard.
- Small circular scrubbing motions – Continually brushing in straight lines can eventually wear grooves into your teeth. Small circular strokes avoid this problem and help you reach all areas of the teeth.