As we get older we start experiencing the same things that our elders used to tell us. The importance of brushing was not that understood by many of us though repeatedly told by our elders, but by now we all know the seriousness of brushing to kick start the day.
However, some people are so overprotective and possessive about their teeth that they tend to brush their teeth the moment they eat anything may be three or four times a day or sometimes even more than that. People tend to think the harder you brush the cleaner your teeth will be. But what they don’t know is the harder you brush or brushing more than twice daily actually harms your tooth.
Signs that show you are using too much pressure – Aggressive brushing
1) Tooth abrasion -Studies show right-handed people tend to do more aggressive brushing on the left side and tooth wearing and abrasion can be seen on the teeth of the left side and vice versa for left-handed people. This is a classical sign that proves you may be brushing hard.
-Aggressive brushing causes excessive friction between the bristles of the toothbrush and the tooth surface which causes wearing off the outer enamel layer of the tooth. Wearing of the enamel causes small yellow ditches on the tooth surface. This is due to the yellow dentin present below the enamel which gets exposed and the teeth start appearing yellow.
2) Sensitivity– More or less everyone suffers from tooth sensitivity to some extent. Severe sensitivity may be most frustrating for a few of us. This tooth sensitivity may be because of too hard brushing or brushing more than twice a day. Apart from all these patients having a habit of grinding or clenching their teeth while sleeping or while concentrating, having citric foods and beverages, excessive alcohol intake, intake of carbonated drinks and severe acidity may worsen the sensitivity.
3) Fraying of the bristles– Another sign is the spreading of the bristles of the toothbrush. Brushing hard also causes the wear of the bristles and they become short and spread out.
4) Bleeding gums – Gums near the tooth area are very soft and delicate. Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can tear the gums and cause bleeding.
5) Receding gums – Brushing hard not only damages your teeth but also your gums. Along with bleeding and swelling of gums, there is also loss of the gum tissue and the gums tend to lose the attachment with the tooth and recede down. Due to this the tooth loses its support and tends to shake.
6) Tooth decay – Enamel though being the hardest part of the body tends to wear off while brushing too hard, making the soft yellow dentin more prone to acid attack by the micro-organisms causing cavities.
Dos and Don’ts
1. Using the right brushing technique and the right amount of pressure- Make sure your brush is slanting so as to keep a few of the bristles on the gums and the rest on the tooth surface. Brush with gentle strokes in a downward motion. Small gentle strokes in a circular motion can also be practiced.
To reduce the hassle of using the right brushing technique one can start using the motorized toothbrush which gives excellent results without having to worry much.
Plaque is very soft can also be removed with a simple cloth hence one can imagine brushing hard is actually not at all necessary. Motorized brushes with pressure sensors are available to warn you if you’re brushing too hard.
2. Brushing in the morning and at bedtime is more than sufficient to maintain good oral hygiene.
3. Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
4. Using a night guard – a night guard is a customized transparent tray that the dentist makes for the patient to prevent the teeth from further damage.
5. Watch what you eat and drink- avoid citric foods and beverages, reduce the intake of carbonated drinks and alcohol.
6. Say bye-bye to bad oral hygiene with regular dental visits for cleaning and polishing every 6 months.