We have all heard the problems that come from not brushing enough, but have you heard about the problems that can be caused from brushing too much? While it is important to brush your teeth, it is more important to do it correctly. Brushing too hard can almost be as bad as not brushing at all. If you brush your teeth too frequently or too roughly, you can damage your gums, wear down your enamel, and make your teeth overly sensitive. You can also damage your gums by using a toothbrush that has bristles that are too hard. Ten to twenty percent of Americans have worn down their teeth from brushing too hard. Read on for some of the dangerous consequences of brushing too hard.
The most common problem of brushing too hard is gum recession. Repeated scrubbing can wear down the gums, and they can become irritated and shrunken. Receding gums are not just an aesthetic problem (it can drastically change your smile), but it can lead to tooth sensitivity, sensitive roots, cavities, and periodontal disease. If it becomes bad enough, your dentist may need to give you a gum graft.
Brushing too hard can also wear down the enamel on your teeth. Tooth enamel is one of the hardest substances in the body, but it is not indestructible. Your body cannot repair missing enamel as it is not made up of living cells. If your enamel erodes, our teeth can become extremely sensitive and more prone to cavities. Worn enamel can create little potholes and cause your teeth to start to yellow. To repair enamel, you have to get fillings and crowns.
When it comes to brushing your teeth, you need to use just the right amount of pressure, not too much and not too little. You should brush your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes. Don’t brush more than three times a day. Use a soft toothbrush placed at a 45 degree angle against your gums. Glide back and forth on your teeth in a gentle but firm manner. You should only just need to feel the bristles against your gums. If you are smashing the bristles down, you are probably brushing too hard. You don’t need to brush hard to remove plaque, you could remove it with a soft cloth if you could reach all of the surface area where it resides. You need to be thorough in your brushing, but not rough. If you have a hard time controlling your brushing, consider purchasing a gentle electric toothbrush.