While seeing your dentist twice a year for deep teeth cleanings and checkups is an important part of oral health, proper home care practices are just as essential. Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day removes food particles as well as dental plaque—a white, sticky film. As important as this teeth cleaning practice is, there is such thing as brushing too hard. Learn what makes aggressive brushing so detrimental to your oral health and what you can do about it.
Why Is Aggressive Brushing Bad & How Can I Avoid It?
Tooth Enamel & Gum Tissue Damage
Overly aggressive brushing harms oral health in two ways. First, it wears down enamel, or the top layer of teeth and the hardest tissue in the body. Enamel forms a shell that protects the underlying layers, including dentin, the sensitive substance responsible for tooth color. It protects these layers from extreme temperatures, harsh chemicals, and other irritants that result in sensitivity and pain. The substance contains no cells and cannot be replaced once it wears away. Aggressive brushing, especially after consuming acidic foods and drinks, wears down enamel to cause hot and cold sensitivities among other tooth pains.
Brushing too aggressively also causes gum recession, eventually exposing tooth roots. These roots contain cementum, a sensitive substance easily worn away due to its soft nature. Exposed tooth roots cause serious pain and may require gum grafting or gum flap surgery to correct.
What You Can Do
Talk to your dentist about correct brushing practices. It is not how hard you brush your teeth to remove bacteria and plaque, but how long. Brush gently using back and forth motions for two minutes twice a day, keeping the instrument at a 45-degree angle. Replace your toothbrush after three months or following an illness. Brushing with a worn-down toothbrush means you are scraping your teeth and gums with the tool’s jagged edges. Use a soft rather than hard-bristled brush to clean your teeth and remove bacteria from your tongue. Floss to remove food particles and bacteria your brush cannot reach.
Discuss proper tooth brushing with the dentists at High Point Smile Dentistry in High Point, NC, to maintain a healthy mouth. The family dentistry practice provides compassionate care to residents throughout the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Greater Triad area using state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge treatments—including a minimally-invasive procedure for gum recession. Call (336) 884-4000 today to schedule your next appointment or visit the dentists online for more information. Get additional dental care tips on Facebook.