Brushing your teeth is a vital step in maintaining good oral health, but you can get too much of a good thing. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. What about those who like to brush after every meal, or brush midday to freshen breath?
Although brushing more than recommended can sometimes be acceptable, such as when you eat something sugary or if you are wearing braces, too much brushing can potentially damage teeth and gums over time.
Why Over-Brushing Can Be Harmful
Tooth enamel may be the hardest substance in the human body, but it can be pitted, cracked or worn away. Over-brushing, especially with a firm-bristled toothbrush, can slowly erode this shield. In time, this may cause teeth to become sensitive and prone to decay. Brushing more than three times a day and for longer than two minutes can sometimes lead to your tooth enamel wearing down. It can also push back your gums, leading to recession.
Practicing proper oral hygiene at home is a vital part of maintaining good oral health. Still, knowing how much brushing is too much can be equally important in keeping your smile healthy.
The Right Toothbrush, the Right Technique
Using the right kind of toothbrush helps prevent unnecessary enamel erosion. Dentists recommend that you use a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This seal shows that all of the toothbrush components are safe for use in the mouth. It also shows that the bristles are free of sharp or jagged edges. This is important because irregular ends could scratch enamel. Many people benefit from a soft-bristled toothbrush. Talk to our team about the right type for you.
An ADA-accepted toothbrush offers a significant decrease in mild gum disease and plaque when used as your dentist directs. However, the technique you use is also important. The ADA recommends this method:
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums
- Gently move it back and forth in short strokes
- Be sure to brush outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth
- It is easier to clean inside surfaces by brushing up and down vertically
A survey of dentists conducted by the Wall Street Journal estimates that 10 to 20 percent of people have damaged their teeth or gums due to over-brushing. Don’t be one of them.
Practice twice-daily brushing and schedule regular professional cleanings and exams with our dentist. We want to help you obtain maximum oral health and are happy to help you perfect your brushing technique. Call today and schedule your next appointment with our endodontist in 40207.