Using the proper tooth-brushing technique is essential to the effectiveness of this important twice-daily oral hygiene habit. If you use too gentle a touch, you may not be thoroughly clearing away dental bacteria, plaque and tartar.
On the other hand, overly aggressive brushing can have negative consequences, too. You may end up needing treatment from a dentist for gum recession or tooth sensitivity for toothbrush abrasion, caused by overzealous brushing. If you damage the enamel, you may even need to get bonding or a crown.
If you question whether you’re brushing correctly, your dentist can demonstrate proper brushing technique and give you guidance on how much pressure to use. Be sure to angle the tooth in the area of the gumline and don’t press so hard that you crush the bristles.
In addition to brushing too harshly, brushing too long can also be problematic. Aim for approximately two minutes. That’s enough time to get the teeth adequately clean but not so much that you’ll be overdoing it. Some research suggests that brushing for longer periods of time is not even necessarily more effective at removing plaque, anyway.
The type of toothbrush you use also is an important factor in your oral health. Stick to one with softer bristles to limit the irritation that can be brought on by brushing. Patients who want to break a habit of brushing too hard may want to consider switching to an electronic toothbrush, which has pulsations that also work to break up plaque and tartar with less manual pressure.
If you have a genetic predisposition to gum disease or sensitive teeth, you’ll need to be even more cautious, as these conditions can be exacerbated by brushing too hard.
There can be too much of a good thing when it comes to brushing your teeth. At your next dental appointment, ask the dentist or hygienist at East Hills Dental Associates for a refresher to make sure you are using the right technique and not causing yourself any problems with your brushing.