Aggressive Tooth Brushing Can Cause Serious Dental Damage

Aug 15, 2017 @ 12:09 PM — by Neil L. Starr, DDS

A toothbrush with toothpaste next to a dental mirrorBrushing the teeth is supposed to protect your smile, but did you know that using too much force to brush the teeth could actually harm your oral health? Aggressive tooth brushing, also called “over brushing,” can lead to serious dental damage. Fortunately, Dr. Neil L. Starr offers a wide range of restorative dentistry treatments to repair the damage caused by aggressive brushing.

To learn more about treatment options for dental damage and aggressive tooth brushing, contact our Washington, DC offices to schedule a consultation. In the meantime, let's take a moment to consider how aggressive brushing causes dental damage and what steps you can take to protect your smile.

Are You Over Brushing? Check Your Toothbrush 

If you are concerned that you may be aggressively brushing your teeth, the first thing to do is take a look at your toothbrush. If the bristles of your toothbrush are medium or hard, there's a good chance that they are overly abrasive and causing you to over brush your teeth.

If the bristles of your toothbrush are flattened and pushed back, caused by applying heavy pressure, it is even more likely that you are aggressively brushing your teeth.

Aggressive Tooth Brushing Is Bad for Dental Health

Contrary to popular belief, brushing the teeth hard doesn't clean them better. Instead, it can strip the teeth of its protective enamel layer and lead to serious dental damage. Not convinced? Here are several compelling reasons to avoid aggressive tooth brushing:

  • Gum recession: Aggressive brushing can cause gum recession, a condition in which the gum tissue surrounding the teeth pushes back or pulls away. As the gums recede, they leave delicate areas of the teeth exposed to bacteria and acid, which can increase the risk of tooth decay.
  • Enamel damage: Aggressively brushing the teeth is highly abrasive and can wear away the enamel. The enamel is the hard, outer layer that helps protect the teeth from decay.
  • Increased risk of tooth decay: The increased risk of tooth decay is twofold due to the combined dangers of gum recession and enamel erosion. When the gums no longer protect areas of the teeth below the gum line, specifically the roots, the risk of tooth decay greatly increases. The same holds true when the enamel no longer protects the inner structures of the teeth, including the dentin layer and dental tissues.
  • Increased tooth sensitivity: Over brushing can cause the teeth to become increasingly sensitive as a result of gum recession and enamel erosion, as both conditions leave vulnerable areas of the teeth exposed.

How to Prevent Aggressive Tooth Brushing

Preventing aggressive tooth brushing often means avoiding some bad brushing habits and replacing them with proper brushing techniques. This includes:

  • Replacing your medium or hard-bristled toothbrush with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Using small circular motions to brush the teeth instead of moving your toothbrush back and forth across your teeth
  • Holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle instead of head-on to effectively remove plaque without damaging the enamel or gums

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Starr

If aggressive brushing has caused you to develop dental damage, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible to restore your dental health. To learn more about your treatment options, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Starr.

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