Less is more when it comes to the way you brush your teeth.
While forceful scrubbing might take stubborn stains out of a carpet or remove baked-on foods from a pan, the same philosophy definitely shouldn't be applied to your teeth. Brushing your teeth too hard, or over brushing, can create some uncomfortable problems for your teeth and gums. Dr. Tariq Riyal of Miswak Dentistry in the Ukrainian Village of Chicago offers his patients some information about how over brushing can damage your smile.
What is over-brushing?
Over brushing, or toothbrush abrasion, is the act of using a toothbrush too vigorously in an attempt to remove plaque from the teeth. Plaque is actually soft and removed easily, so brushing forcefully with medium or hard-bristled toothbrushes is not only unnecessary but potentially harmful. It can wear down the enamel on the teeth and push the gums away from the roots, potentially resulting in sensitivity, decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Dentists like Dr. Riyal estimate that 10 to 20 percent of their patients over-brush.
Your Ukrainian Village dentist has a few tips for proper brushing. Choose a soft-bristled brush and, while holding it at a 45-degree angle against the gum line, apply just enough pressure so you can feel the bristles touching your teeth and gums. If the bristles splay out against your teeth, you're pushing too hard. Instead of employing a "sawing motion," use short, repetitive strokes across each section of your mouth, including behind your teeth and on your tongue. You should brush between two and three minutes for optimal cleaning.
A change in your brushing habits is usually enough to keep any problems from worsening. Talk with Dr. Tariq Riyal, your Ukrainian Village dentist, if you think you may have damage from over-brushing. He can recommend further treatment if necessary.