Everyone understands that good oral health starts with brushing and flossing routinely, drinking plenty of water, and keeping a well balanced diet. Many dentists advise brushing twice a day for a minimum of two minutes. What many people don't consider, however, is the amount of pressure they are using while they are brushing.
Abrasion from toothbrushes is something that happens when one is using excessive force during brushing their teeth, usually with medium or hard- bristled toothbrushes. In fact, it is estimated that up to 20% of adults have damaged their teeth and gums because of brushing too strongly. The outer surface area of a tooth is called the enamel, and it is the most durable part of our bodies, even more durable than our bones. Brushing with too much force compromises this outer protective layer, which can make us more prone to germs and cavities. Also, brushing too often and utilizing too much force can lead to gum recession. Gum line recession frequently results in exposed roots, tooth sensitivity, and premature tooth loss.
"Plaque is so soft that you could remove it with a rag if you could reach all the surfaces where it hides," says Delta Dental's Kevin Sheu, DDS. He also explains that brushing your teeth more forcefully or more often isn't going to do you any good. "Thoroughness is what is required for plaque removal, not aggressive brushing."
Here are some valuable tips to remember when brushing your teeth, in order to avoid toothbrush abrasion:
- When brushing your teeth, hold the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline.
- Instead of going back and forth, brush with a scrubbing motion and short strokes.
- Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush instead of a hard-bristled one.
- Brush with your non-dominant hand in order to avoid using too much force.