Are You Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard?

Brushing Your Teeth

 Brushing our teeth is a habit that is vital to our dental and overall health, but unfortunately, many people go about it the wrong way. And while some people don’t get to spend enough time brushing their teeth, others tend to go overboard with the activity. So how do you know if you’re brushing your teeth properly, and more importantly, how do you ensure that you don’t brush your teeth too hard? In case you’re wondering if there is any such thing as brushing your teeth too hard. Yes, there is. So, keep reading to learn more. 

Effects of brushing your teeth too hard 

Many of us perform various activities without realizing their effects or long-term consequences. One of those such activities is the habit of brushing our teeth too hard, or what is known as over-brushing. 

Brushing your teeth too hard is the practice of applying too much pressure on your toothbrush while brushing. Most people do this unknowingly in an attempt to clean their teeth better. They believe that by brushing or scrubbing the teeth harder, they would have a better chance of removing plaque and food particles from their teeth. And while this idea is shared ignorantly by many people, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, by brushing your teeth too hard, you increase the chances of causing harmful side effects to both your teeth and gums. Some of which include: 

  • Gum Recession: When you brush your teeth too hard, your gums start to recede and shrink over time. This gum recession leads to a change in your gum line, which exposes your tooth root. Receded gums are one of the side effects of over brushing and can lead to a lackluster smile if they are not taken care of. 
  • Tooth sensitivity: With gum recession comes exposed tooth root. When the tooth roots are exposed, the nerve endings present in the tooth root become more sensitive to food and drinks. As a result, the teeth become hypersensitive to spicy foods and cold and hot foods and drinks. 
  • Teeth discoloration: If you overbrush your teeth, with time, you may notice that the lower part of your teeth is darker than the top part. When your gum starts to recede, it reveals the lower part of your teeth, which is usually discoloured from the whiter shade of the rest of your teeth. This is because the lower part is without enamel and was previously protected by your gum line. 
  • Bleeding gums: While gum recession and tooth sensitivity are long-term side effects, bleeding gums is a rather quick consequence. Gums do not naturally bleed except when injured or damaged. So if you find your gums bleeding during your brushing routine, it’s a sure sign that you’re brushing too hard and damaging your gums. 
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The proper way to brush your teeth 

Brushing your teeth too hard can be damaging to your teeth in the long run. Fortunately, you can remedy the situation by applying proper brushing techniques to your brushing routine. Here are some steps to help you brush your teeth properly.

Brushing materials 

This is unarguably the most important step for proper brushing as it sets the foundation for what’s to follow. Brushing materials include the toothbrush, toothpaste and other materials which you use to brush your teeth.

 But with the myriad of toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your dental health. Nevertheless, when choosing toothbrushes, select a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Toothbrushes with hard bristles can increase the pressure and abrasive force on your enamel which can erode it over time. 

Moreover, soft bristles have the flexibility to bend, which is essential for reaching tough spots when brushing. Additionally, ensure you select a toothbrush with a small head. This makes it easier to brush at different angles to your gum line and reach farther into your mouth without difficulty. 

The Brushing process 

Rather than what most people think, brushing your teeth is a meticulous process that should be done with great care. The recommended time for a proper brushing process is at least two minutes which can be shared into quarters of 30 seconds for each quadrant of the mouth.

When brushing your teeth, hold your toothbrush with three fingers to reduce the pressure applied to the toothbrush. Keep in mind that the goal is to massage the enamel and not scrub it. Plaque and food particles are loose and can be easily removed through gentle massaging motions. 

Speaking of brushing motions, use vertical circular motions to reach every corner of your mouth. Brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line to ensure you get in the gum line. Don’t make the common mistake of forgetting the gumline because food particles and bacteria can also hide out there. 

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However, if all the above tips feel too difficult, you could opt for an electric toothbrush with soft bristles. An electric toothbrush ensures an even distribution of pressure across the teeth. All you have to do is guide the motions of the toothbrush till it reaches every corner of your teeth. 

Brushing habits 

While brushing your teeth is vital to your dental health, it’s important to brush at least two times daily. Once a night after meals and the second one at any other time of the day. 

However, If you do decide to brush immediately after a meal, give a space of at least 20 minutes after the meal before brushing your teeth. This is because the mouth is still acidic from chewing, and brushing the teeth with the acid present can be rather damaging to the teeth than helpful. 

Additionally, you can also rinse your mouth with water properly before diving in with your toothbrush. And don’t forget to floss each time after brushing. Brushing might be important, but the process is not complete if you don’t floss immediately after. Flossing helps remove any food particles or plaque that the brushing process failed to eliminate. 

As an extra tip, change your toothbrush regularly regardless of how much you love the current ones. Once the bristles are frayed, bent or discoloured, it’s time to get a new toothbrush. Alternatively, you could make it a habit of changing your toothbrush once every 3 months. 

What to do if you think you are brushing your teeth too hard Sometimes you catch yourself in the act of brushing too hard and quickly correct the process. And while this is a step in the right direction, sadly, the damage to your teeth and gums may have already begun. If you find yourself in the above situation, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our dentists at Alpine View Dental are ready and happy to help you examine your teeth and answer any questions you might have.

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