Regular brushing is essential to keeping your smile healthy, but overdoing it can hurt your teeth. Too much brushing can wear down the enamel, cause the gums to recede, and lead to heightened sensitivity.
What is overbrushing or too much brushing?
Overbrushing can occur if you brush aggressively or too many times a day. Being diligent about your oral hygiene routine is good, but too much of it can result in more dental problems down the road.
Signs you’re brushing too vigorously
It’s not always about how often you brush. Here are signs you may be overbrushing:
· Sensitive teeth. If your tooth sensitivity keeps coming back, that can be a sign of overbrushing. Aggressive brushing causes the enamel to erode and the gums to wear away. This can expose the tooth nerves and make you more sensitive to changes in temperature.
· Bleeding gums. Gums can bleed occasionally. But if it happens every time you brush, it could be because you're brushing too hard. The toothbrush bristles may be too stiff, or you may be pressing on your teeth with too much pressure. The gum can get damaged in the process and bleed.
· Discoloured teeth. Brushing too hard can strip away the enamel and cause the layer beneath it, called the dentin, to become more prominent. The dentin is thinner and darker, so your smile could also look duller than usual.
· Brushing right after meals. You don’t have to brush right after every meal, but it’s important to brush at least 2-3 times a day. Exposure to acids in food makes the enamel soft and vulnerable after meals. Brushing right away can irritate the gums and damage the enamel.
What are the effects of overbrushing?
Being an overly diligent brusher can increase your risk of developing dental problems, including the following:
· Tooth sensitivity. Worn enamel exposes the nerve endings of the teeth. A sudden bite or sip from anything cold or warm can cause discomfort or pain.
· Dental abrasion. The structure of your teeth can also get damaged if you apply too much force when brushing. The toothbrush bristles can wear away the enamel, exposing the softer and more vulnerable layers of the teeth.
· Gum recession. Improper brushing and brushing too many times can also cause the gums to recede and leave the roots of the tooth exposed.
What happens if you have receding gums?
When the gums pull back, more of the tooth shows. You'll notice that pockets start to form around the teeth. These areas are ideal nesting places for harmful bacteria because they can be tough to reach and clean. If receding gums are untreated, bacterial overgrowth can lead to inflammation and, over time, damage the bone and tissue.
While gum recession is a common dental issue, it can be hard to tell if you have it because it progresses slowly. Often, it will come with increased sensitivity or changes in the appearance of your teeth. Your teeth may look longer because the gums have already receded.
Aggressive brushing is only one cause of gum recession. It's important to take steps to keep it from advancing because the gums don't grow back. The treatment options will depend on the causes. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to fix the issue.
Is your child brushing their teeth too hard?
Is your child already starting to brush their teeth on their own? This is an exciting milestone to witness, but you’ll want to monitor and guide them to ensure they’re not overdoing it.
Teaching kids how to take care of their teeth is a great way to spend time with them. Make the most of it by showing them the right way to brush or even brush together.
If their toothbrush gets worn out quickly, even if it’s still relatively new, that can be a sign of overzealous brushing. Check if more of their teeth are showing up or if their gums are bleeding.
Consider making an appointment with your family dentist to get their mouth assessed. Children can also experience enamel loss, but you and your dental team can work together to prevent it.
Have you been looking for a dentist in NE Calgary that caters to families?
Monterey Dental Clinic has been serving the oral health care needs of families in Calgary for over 30 years. You’re always welcome to schedule an appointment for you and your child.
How can I prevent over-brushing?
The goal when you brush is to get rid of deposits on the surfaces of the teeth and prevent plaque and tartar build-up. How you brush is more important than the number of times you brush.
Here are some tips to prevent overbrushing.
· Brush your teeth gently. Imagine that you’re massaging your teeth. Avoid too much pressure, and don’t rush. You might feel that you’re removing more deposits the harder you brush, but the truth is that this technique is only hurting your teeth and gums.
· Use a soft-bristled brush. Stiff and hard bristles can increase the risk of dental and gum abrasion. Switch to a soft-bristled brush to minimize the risks of overbrushing.
· Brush with small, circular strokes. Avoid brushing back and forth. Refrain from brushing along the gum line or too near the gum line. Maintain a 45-degree angle from the gumline and focus more on the tooth surface. Using proper brushing techniques will ensure you get the perfect clean every time!
· Consider switching to an electric toothbrush. If you cannot seem to control the pressure while brushing your teeth or find it hard to brush with gentle strokes, consider switching to an electric toothbrush. This way, you no longer have to manually control your brushing pressure. You can set up your toothbrush to your desired intensity level.
· Wait at least 60 minutes before brushing after meals. Give the enamel time to recover from acid exposure. Exposure to acid weakens the enamel. Brushing right after eating can make it more prone to abrasion.
· Replace your toothbrush routinely. A brush with frayed bristles may cause you to brush aggressively because it no longer works well. Switch to a new brush every 3–4 months or once the one you’re using is worn.
· Consult with your dentist regarding which toothpaste to use. Different types of toothpaste are available to cater to various dental care needs. Some are formulated to counter hot and cold sensitivity, lessen surface stains, and fight cavities. Your dentist can recommend the best option for you.
Overbrushing is a common problem, but you can correct it. Your dentist or dental hygienist can inform you if there are signs that you’re an overzealous brusher. They can also provide tips so you can improve your brushing techniques.
There are also treatments that can be done at the dental office to make the enamel stronger and protect it from wear. Fluoride treatments and dental fillings, for example, can improve tooth health and slow down enamel loss.
If much of the gum tissue is lost, you may also receive gum grafts to replenish the lost tissue and keep tooth sensitivity from progressing.
Boost your oral hygiene routine, avoid overbrushing
Enjoy a clean and healthy smile without going overboard. For more tips on boosting your oral hygiene routine, contact us today at Monterey Dental. Request an appointment with a dentist in NE Calgary, Alberta.
Too much of a good thing can be bad. Ensure correct brushing with guidance from dental professionals. Let's refine your brushing techniques and give your smile just the right amount of attention it deserves.