Your teeth can serve you for a lifetime with the right care over the years. To keep them strong and healthy, your toothbrush is your first line of defense against preventable issues, like cavities. Although brushing might seem fairly self-explanatory, if you’re pushing too hard, you might be unknowingly damaging your smile. Here’s how you can keep your teeth clean without risking your oral health.
Risks of Brushing Too Hard
Your teeth are composed of three layers: enamel, dentin, and pulp. The hard outer layer is your enamel, which protects the softer dentin and pulp. Brushing too hard can wear away the enamel. Unlike other tissues in your body, it cannot regenerate itself. Once it is gone, it is gone for good. As a result, your underlying layers will be left vulnerable to infection and bacteria. Not to mention, there are other risks involved with brushing aggressively, such as:
- Tooth Sensitivity: Your dentin contains tiny tubes connecting to the nerve center of your tooth, called the pulp. Without the enamels’ protection, your teeth can become sensitive to hot or cold foods and drinks.
- Cavities: If your enamel thins, your teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay.
- Tooth Discoloration: Your dentin has a yellowish color. Thin enamel causes more of your dentin to be visible, making your teeth look discolored.
- Gum Recession: Besides eroding your enamel, brushing too hard can cause your gum lines to recede. If too much tissue is lost, you’ll be at risk of tooth sensitivity, gum disease, and missing teeth.
Tips to Avoid Brushing Too Hard
Throughout your life, you’ll spend at least 4 minutes a day brushing your teeth. That’s a lot of time using your toothbrush over the years. You can ensure your oral hygiene routine is effective without harming your oral health using a few tips:
- Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush that has earned the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.
- Hold your tooth at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
- Gently brush back and forth using wide strokes to clean all surfaces of your teeth.
- Slow down because your dentist recommends brushing for at least 2 full minutes in the morning and at night.
- If you have a habit of brushing too hard, consider using an electric toothbrush that has a pressure sensor, which will alert you if you’re using too much force.
Protect Your Enamel from Over-Brushing
The effects of over-brushing aren’t apparent right away. You’ll notice a gradual change, but serious damage can occur by then. Routine checkups with your dentist allow them to monitor your dental health, including your enamel, to ensure your teeth stay strong and healthy for decades.
About Dr. Christy Cox
Dr. Cox earned her dental degree from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry, and she regularly continues her training to provide personalized services for each patient. She uses a family-friendly approach to ensure every patient is comfortable and relaxed. If it’s time for your next cleaning and checkup, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.