You can file money, love, and friends under the more-is-better category, but does the same hold true for brushing your teeth?
Dr. Caesar Sweidan, Dr. Laura Smith, and our experienced dental team at St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants weigh in on this common question.
Keep reading as we explain the potential dangers of overbrushing and how to develop a safe routine that keeps your teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Teeth brushing: When too much of a good thing is bad
We advise brushing your teeth twice daily, but that’s not an arbitrary suggestion — there’s sound reasoning behind the rule.
Brushing your teeth when you wake up clears away bacteria and plaque that have built up overnight and freshens your breath before you meet and greet your family and coworkers.
Brushing your teeth at night before you go to bed dislodges food particles that get stuck between your teeth and flushes away sugars and bacteria so they don’t have a chance to erode your enamel.
The exception to the rule is when you wear braces or clear aligners. In this case, brush your teeth after every meal before replacing your aligner trays and brush as often as necessary to clear food out of your braces.
What happens when you brush too much or too hard?
Overbrushing, aggressive brushing, and incorrect brushing can damage your teeth and gums. Here are three problems these bad habits cause.
Overbrushing wears away the protective enamel on your teeth, exposing the yellow-brown dentin layer underneath and making your smile appear dingy and aged.
When overbrushing wears down your enamel, your nerves are closer to the surface and much more sensitive to the pressure of chewing or the touch of your finger or toothbrush. With increased tooth sensitivity, you may also experience shocks of pain when you eat or drink something cold or hot or when you breathe in cold air.
Aggressive brushing is notorious for damaging delicate gum tissue and causing your gums to shrink back from your teeth. Receding gums expose more of your teeth’s surface, making them appear longer. This invites bacteria to attack the unprotected root.
How to prevent abrasion, sensitivity, and gum recession
Sticking to a twice-a-day brushing routine for your teeth is a good first step to avoiding the damage linked to overbrushing.
Brushing properly is the second step:
- Always use a soft-bristled brush
- Massage your teeth with the brush; don’t scrub them
- Spend two minutes brushing — no more, no less
- Allow the bristle to meet your gumline at a 45-degree angle
- Floss at least once a day
You may already have gum recession if you’ve been overbrushing for some time. If so, we can help.
At St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants, we specialize in gum grafting, the most effective treatment to restore your gum tissue. We use gum tissue from the roof of your mouth and surgically graft it to the areas where your gums have receded.
Once it heals, your gums look like new and function like they did before they began to shrink — holding your teeth firmly in place, protecting your roots, and giving you a dazzling smile.
If aggressive brushing or other circumstances have left you with receding gums, call us at 985-778-0241 to schedule a consultation with one of our expert periodontists in Slidell or Covington, Louisiana.