While every dentist wants his patients to take brushing their teeth seriously, brushing too vigorously and with a stiff-bristled toothbrush can be too much of a good thing. The Wall Street Journal reports that dentists estimate that between 10 to 20 percent of the population have damaged their teeth or gums as a result of overbrushing.
Brushing too hard can damage the periodontal tissues and bones that support the teeth. It can also wear down tooth enamel and damage and push back the gums, exposing the sensitive root area. Receding gums can eventually lead to problems such as periodontal disease, tooth sensitivity and cavities on the roots of the teeth, which could require fillings, root canals and tooth extraction.
Here are some suggestions for proper teeth brushing:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with rounded bristles which are less abrasive; many choices are readily available today
- Hold the brush between the thumb and forefinger, not with the fist, with the bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gumline.
- Move the toothbrush with short strokes and a scrubbing motion, several times in each spot. Don’t saw back and forth across the teeth with your toothbrush.
- Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums. If you are squashing the bristles, you’re brushing too hard.
What dentists really want is for patients to brush longer, not harder. Removing plaque from the mouth requires at least two to five minutes of brushing at least twice a day. So remember, two times for two minutes.
Dr. Douglas Angell and the staff at Angell’s Dentistry are committed to helping you keep your mouth healthy. Give us a call to schedule an appointment for a dental checkup and be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.