From a young age, we’re taught to brush our teeth every morning and evening. Therefore, most of us know that brushing is essential if we’d like to maintain excellent oral health. However, is it possible to brush your teeth for too long? The answer is “yes.” Too much brushing can actually do more harm than good.
According to the American Dental Association, and almost all dentists, you should brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. While you can brush after meals or in the middle of the day to freshen up, brushing too much or for way too long may lead to teeth damage. It’s not uncommon for excessive brushing to wear down tooth enamel and wreak havoc on the gums. It can also cause teeth sensitivity and cavities down the road.
It may be difficult to know whether or not you’re overbrushing. This is particularly true if your oral habits have remained the same for quite some time. If you brush hard or use a medium or hard bristled toothbrush, you are at a higher risk for excessive brushing than someone who brushes a bit lighter with a lighter bristled toothbrush. Strayed bristles, swollen or red gums after brushing, bleeding gums, and gum recession are all signs that you need to modify your brushing habits and be a bit gentler on your teeth and gums. Lakewood, Colorado Dentist Dr. Brian Levitin warns that gum disease is not a medical concern you want later in life.
One of the main goals of brushing your teeth is to remove plaque, which is the sticky white film that leads to tooth decay. To effectively get rid of plaque, you need to adhere to the right brushing technique rather than overbrush. Remember too much of anything is never a good thing.
The best way to clean your enamel and remove plaque is to brush the surface of your teeth gently in a circular motion. If you’re having trouble doing so with a standard toothbrush, try an electric toothbrush. At our Richmond, Midlothian and Short Pump offices, we suggest you use a soft bristled toothbrush and hold it at a 45 degree angle.
Then, brush in a circular rather than back and forth motion. Be sure to apply enough pressure to feel the bristles against your gums. Brush for no more than two minutes. We’d be happy to help you master this technique at your next appointment.
Ideally, you’d brush two or three times a day. If you wish to brush after every meal to prevent bacteria growth, wait an hour. Brushing immediately after a meal can damage your enamel so waiting is essential.
Since toothbrush bristles are bound to fray and break down, it’s important to replace your toothbrush or its head every three months or so. A new toothbrush for every new season is your best bet. Our good friend and Raleigh orthodontist, Dr. Jason Gladwell, always suggests a new toothbrush at the start of a new season.
If you’d like more tips on how to brush your teeth correctly, don’t hesitate to contact River Run Dental today. Our dental team is dedicated to being your go-to resource on all things teeth, mouth, and gums. You can call us at 804-335-0228. We look forward to hearing from you!