Can Brushing Too Hard Damage My Teeth?

Soft bristle toothbrush recommended by San Marcos family dentist.Let’s face it. We all brush our teeth (hopefully at least twice daily). The ideal way to brush the teeth is using a small circular motion with a soft-bristle toothbrush.  The reason being that a hard bristle toothbrush can actually do more harm than good. Even though the enamel is the strongest and toughest part of our body, the gums are not. So even if the toothbrush doesn’t cause any damage to the actual tooth, it can cause recession for the gums (gums pulling away). You know your gums are receding when you look at your teeth and notice they look like they’re getting longer. Also, the neck of the teeth (the part just above the gums) looks more yellow/orange than the top part of the tooth. The reason is that once the gums recede, you are looking at the tooth root. And since the root is made of different materials (not enamel), it looks different and has a different color.

If you talk to a group of dentists regarding what causes the notching seen at the neck of the teeth you’ll get different answers. Some dentists will tell you that excessive rubbing or force while brushing the teeth causes this problem. Others will tell you that it is caused by how your teeth fit the opposing teeth (for chewing purposes) and by excessive biting forces (clenching or grinding).  Another factor that plays a role here is the foods and drink we ingest. Anything acidic (like orange juice) makes the tooth structure chemically weaker. That’s why dentists recommend against brushing your teeth after drinking that glass of OJ. So if you eat or drink acidic beverages, brush hard and clench your teeth, you are very prone to having your gums recede and your teeth notch.

What is important here is that all of these (brushing in a scrubbing fashion, hard bristle toothbrush, acidic foods or beverages, and excessive biting forces) are all risk factors for recession of the gums and the notching of the teeth. So the question remains: what can we do to minimize the damage?

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Minimize the use of acidic beverages and foods. Avoid clenching your teeth. Use the correct brushing technique. Use kinds of toothpaste with fluoride to keep the enamel strong. The use of certain mouthwashes also helps protect the roots of the teeth from decay. If you have teeth that have recession or have notching already, we can help. Give us a call and we’ll help you stop the recession and fix the damaged teeth.