Many patients believe that scrubbing teeth with a firm tooth brush and heavy hand will do a more thorough job of keeping plaque from forming on teeth. However, this type of dental treatment done on a regular basis can do much more harm than good … your dentist will be able to tell right away if you are using the wrong tooth brush and brushing pattern and help you to correct it.
The consequences of incorrect brushing can include:
- Premature gum recession – you can literally brush so hard that gum tissue will begin to wear away exposing parts of the tooth that may experience uncomfortable zinging when exposed to hot or cold.
- Worn enamel – There are several ways to wear enamel down from grinding and clenching to over brushing. Exposed dentin can lead to the need for cosmetic repair to even out the appearance of misshapen teeth due to worn enamel.
- Bleeding gums – Brushing too briskly can make gums bleed unnecessarily. However, it is important to note that bleeding gums can be an indicator of the onset of gum disease. If gums bleed when brushing, switch to a soft bristle tooth brush and less pressure. If gums continue to bleed, an appointment with your dentist will confirm whether gum disease or improper brushing technique is the problem.
There are things that you can do to keep gum tissue healthy and teeth as free from dental plaque build-up as possible:
- Use a soft bristle tooth brush, steady, even up and down strokes, and a fluoridated tooth paste or gel. Brush at least twice per day, more often if you can.
- Floss daily – this will help keep gum tissue stimulated and help to minimize plaque build-up.
- See your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and dental exam. Teeth will be polished to look their best, and your dentist can closely monitor you to catch potential problems before they can escalate.
- Consider an electronic tooth brush – This takes the guesswork out of brushing pressure; you merely guide the toothbrush and it does all the work. Another advantage of an electronic brush is that most come with a built in timer encouraging brushing for a advised two minutes each time you brush.
Our dental team can teach you the proper brushing technique to keep teeth and gums healthy.