Everybody knows that good dental hygiene begins with brushing and flossing routinely, drinking plenty of water, and preserving a balanced diet. The majority of dental experts suggest brushing twice a day for a minimum of two minutes. What the majority of people don’t think of, however, is the pressure they are applying while doing their brushing.
Abrasion is something that takes place when one is using excessive force while brushing, normally with a toothbrush with medium or hard bristles. It is thought that as many as 20% of adults have actually caused damage to their teeth and gums because of brushing with excessive force. The external layer of the tooth is called enamel, and it is the most durable part of our bodies (more durable than our bones). When brushing our teeth with excessive force, it weakens our enamel, which can make us more prone to cavities and bacteria. Additionally, applying excessive force and brushing too often can cause receding gums. The recession of the gumline typically results in exposed roots, sensitive teeth, and even early tooth loss.
“Plaque is so soft that you could remove it with a rag if you could reach all the surfaces where it hides,” says Kevin Sheu, DDS of Delta Dental. He also explains that brushing your teeth with more force or more times a day isn’t going to provide extra benefits. “Thoroughness is what is required for plaque removal, not aggressive brushing.”
Here are a number of handy tips to remember while brushing in order to avoid tooth abrasion:
– While brushing, hold the toothbrush head at a 45-degree angle to your gumline.
– Use a scrubbing motion and brief strokes instead of going back and forth.
– Use a soft-bristled toothbrush rather than a hard-bristled one.
– Brush with your non-dominant hand in order to avoid applying too much force.