Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?
We’ve all heard that too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. But is that true even of healthy things like brushing your teeth? Actually, it is! Sure, it’s important to brush your teeth regularly – twice a day for at least two minutes is what experts recommend – but over-brushing is possible and can cause problems. Here are some reasons not to brush too much, and what you can do to avoid problems if you just can’t help but fit in those extra brushing sessions.
Too much brushing can wear down the enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth. Enamel protects your teeth from decay by acting as a barrier for the inner parts of your teeth and keeping out acids and plaque. Your body can’t make more enamel, so once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. That means that protecting it from wear and tear is important. Brushing too much, using too much pressure, or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard can all do irreversible damage to your enamel.
Brushing too vigorously and too often can lead to what is known as “toothbrush abrasion,” or wear on your teeth and gums. This condition often causes tooth sensitivity, too. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, the thinning enamel exposes the inner, more sensitive parts of teeth. Second, receding gums expose the root area of teeth, which is much more sensitive. Tooth sensitivity can lead to the need for more dental treatments down the road.
Gum Damage & Disease
As we mentioned before, over-brushing can lead to your gums beginning to recede. In addition to exposing the root area of teeth, this also leaves you vulnerable to developing periodontal disease. What may start as easy-to-treat gingivitis can quickly turn into periodontitis, which requires much more invasive and expensive treatment.
What If I Have to Brush?
Remember that how hard you brush isn’t the determining factor in how clean your teeth are. Rather, it’s making sure that you use the proper technique and clean each tooth thoroughly. If you just can’t help but brush a bit more than is recommended, it’s best to stick with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line when brushing. Use short strokes and a circular motion rather than sawing back and forth. Pay attention to the amount of pressure you’re using – if the bristles are squashed, you’re using too much pressure.
If you’re concerned about your brushing habits or want to learn more about proper brushing techniques, Dr. Ding and the Austex Dental team are happy to help. Call our Austin dentist office today or schedule an appointment online. Let us help you get and maintain a healthy smile!