When it comes to taking care of your teeth, it's important to remember that too much of a good thing can be dangerous. Brushing and flossing daily are the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy; on the other hand, it's possible to damage your teeth if you're brushing them too vigorously or too often:
Receding Gums and Exposed Dentin
If you brush your teeth with a lot of enthusiasm, you may in fact be pushing your gums back from your teeth, exposing the beginnings of the roots. This part of your teeth is not protected by enamel but is instead exposed dentin, the inner material of teeth. Unprotected dentin is more vulnerable to decay and cavities – hardly the effect you want from brushing.
Scrubbing your teeth too hard can cause damage to the enamel of your teeth. This is a problem for people who like to brush after every meal. Enamel is a very hard substance – it has to be to put up with the wear and tear of eating. However, when you eat, it spurs the bacteria in your mouth to produce acid. This weakens your enamel – and doubly so if the food itself was acidic.
Brushing when your enamel has been softened by acid is not healthy; that's why you should avoid brushing your teeth right after you eat. Instead, to help protect your teeth from that acid, swish a little water around in your mouth after a meal to rinse them off. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can also help.
If you have sensitive teeth, one possible cause is brushing too hard. As mentioned before, this can cause receding gums. And receding gums are a very common cause of sensitivity in teeth – the exposed dentin can react to heat, cold, or even sweetness by sending pain signals through the nerves in your teeth. If your sensitivity is in a single tooth, it may be a cavity forming, but if it occurs in multiple teeth – your bottom and top front rows of teeth are common areas – then it's likely to be a problem with your gums.
What You Can Do
First, don't think that vigorous brushing can make up for not flossing. Flossing is the best way to clean between teeth, including those small gaps near the gum line. Brushing more gently and flossing more regularly is much healthier for your teeth and gums.
Switching to a softer-bristled brush can also be helpful, especially if you're in the habit of using more pressure while brushing. And make sure that your brushing technique is good – you're not trying to scrub your teeth clean like a metal pan, but to loosen and remove plaque, which is a soft material. Brush with moderate pressure in a circular motion and at a 45-degree angle to your teeth; if you're worried about your technique, ask your dentist or dental hygienist to observe and make sure it's correct.
Finally, make sure you get your regular dental cleanings. Once tartar forms on your teeth, even hard scrubbing won't be effective in removing it. The American Dental Association recommends that you personalize the time between cleanings based on a dentist's recommendation.
To learn more, try contacting a company like Mooresville Dental Care with any questions or concerns you have.