Brushing too hard receding gums

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard?

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When it comes to brushing your teeth, there is such a thing as proper technique. Brushing too hard — or using the wrong toothbrush — can damage your teeth and gums, leading to problems like enamel wear and receding gums, which can in turn lead to tooth sensitivity, says Gene Romo, DDS, a Chicago-based dentist and consumeradvisor for the American Dental Association (ADA). “People tend to brush aggressively, thinking it’s the only way they can get their teeth to feel clean and look whiter,” Dr.Romo says. “That’s counterproductive, because not only does it cause recession of your gums, but you’re also wearing away the white, glossy enamel on your teeth, making them look yellow and darker.” And when that happens, you’re putting yourself at risk for developing sensitive teeth.

Not sure if you’re brushing too hard? Take a look at your toothbrush. If you’ve been using it for three months or less, it should still appear relatively new. “If it looks beat up and flat, that’s a sign you’re brushing way too hard,” Romo says.

The Proper Way to Brush Your Teeth

It requires a lot of mindfulness, but you can change your hard-brushing ways, Romo says. Follow these tips to brush properly to help relieve tooth sensitivity and prevent damage to your teeth and gums:

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Choose one with the ADA seal and replace it every three months — or sooner if it frays.

Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. That way, the bristles can reach and clean underneath your gumline, Romo says.

Gently move the brush back and forth. Use short, tooth-wide strokes to clean the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of the teeth, the ADA recommends. (If you have a lot of gum recession, your dentist may recommend you try the roll technique instead, Romo says.) If you’re using an electric toothbrush, let it do all the work and just lightly glide it over your teeth instead of pushing it against them. To make sure you’re using a gentle grip, try holding your toothbrush in your nondominant hand.

Slow down. Dentists recommend that you brush for two full minutes — 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth — twice a day. Use the timer on your phone or choose an electric toothbrush that alerts you every 30 seconds. “For people who have never tried it, it can feel like an eternity. You don’t really know what two minutes feels like until you actually brush that long,” Romo says. But when you’re not rushing to finish, it will keep you more mindful about brushing too aggressively.

Sticking with these tips can help you keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy, while eliminating symptoms of tooth sensitivity.

Did you know that it is possible to brush your teeth too hard?

Brushing your teeth twice a day is the recommended best practice when it comes to good oral habits. If you follow this advice and clean your teeth morning and night, then you should feel proud of your dental care habits. However, some people take this oral care step too far and manage to overbrush their teeth. Yes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing – even when it comes to good oral habits.

To learn if you may be among those who brush their teeth too hard, watch for these signs:

  • Receding Gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bleeding gums

Gum recession has several potential causes, and one of them is overbrushing. Brushing your teeth too hard can damage the delicate gum tissue and cause it to recede backward. This process can cause teeth to look longer and feel sensitive as well as lead to swollen, red, or tender gums. You may see areas where the gum does not reach the tooth and instead a brownish area remains. Gum recession can eventually expose tooth roots and lead to
painful sensitivity and even tooth loss.

Your gum tissue needs to be brushed as well as your teeth but gentle brushing maneuvers are all you need. When it comes to your gums a gentle touch is better than an aggressive touch. Brushing your gums harshly could aggravate existing gum recession and cause gums tissue to recede further. Your gums play a critical role in supporting and protecting your teeth, so if you think you may be suffering from this condition, then ask about your treatment options during your next dental office visit.

Sensitive Teeth

Having sensitive teeth is no fun. In fact, some people have such sensitive teeth that they can only eat or drink things at room temperature. Anything hot or cold will be too uncomfortable to consume. Brushing too harshly can lead to tooth sensitivity.

Tooth enamel helps give you a bright smile, but it’s also responsible for protecting your teeth. If you brush your teeth aggressively, you may wear down the enamel and expose the sensitive dentin underneath, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. Also, as mentioned, overbrushing can cause tooth sensitivity due to gum recession, and this happens because the gums no longer cover the entire tooth root. Exposed tooth roots can be both uncomfortable and put you at greater risk for cavities, so it’s best not to ignore this symptom of overbrushing.

While sensitive teeth can be treated with the right oral care habits, specific toothpaste, and help from your dentist, once tooth enamel is gone it can’t be replaced.

Bleeding Gums

Lastly, one of the most common signs of aggressive tooth brushing is bleeding gums. Contrary to what many people believe, it’s not normal for gums to bleed during brushing. Bleeding gums are often a symptom of gingivitis and poor oral hygiene, but they can also signal that you’re brushing your teeth too hard. If you clean your teeth consistently and find that your gums are swollen, red, or tend to bleed, then consider brushing more gently and switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush.

How to Prevent Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

  • Watch your toothbrush
  • Be gentle with your brushing
  • Use an electric toothbrush
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly

One of the easiest steps to help reduce your risk of brushing too hard, refrain from using a medium or hard bristle brush. The best toothbrush to use for your teeth is a soft brush. Soft or even extra soft brushes can do just as an effective a job at cleaning your teeth, and are less likely to damage your enamel.

When brushing hold your toothbrush with only three fingers or use an electric toothbrush to help from brushing too hard. Both of these will help ease the pressure you are putting on your teeth when you brush. Additionally, don’t forget to buy a new toothbrush every few months and floss daily.

While undergoing teeth cleanings and dental check-ups in Lake Stevens WA, patients are frequently told how vital it is to brush their teeth twice per day, every day. We certainly advocate that our patients follow good oral hygiene habits but we also want to make sure they don’t go overboard.

So keep up the good habits when it comes to brushing and flossing – just make sure you don’t overdo it and cause harm to your teeth and gums by overbrushing or brushing too hard.

Problem #5: Only using floss picks

While using floss picks is better than not flossing at all, they’re not as effective as traditional string floss or water flossers. “Most people don’t even use the picks to their fullest potential ‘pop’ them through the contacts and move on to the next space,” says Dr. Irina Sinensky, a dentist for NYC’s Dental House. In addition to not being thorough enough, “this can also spread bacteria from one location to another. It’s the up and down cleaning motion of each root surface that is recommended,” she says.

Problem #6: Not flossing because you see blood

“Patients tell me all the time that they don’t floss because their gums bleed when they do. I tell them to floss more instead,” says Dr. Sinensky. “Unhealthy gums — usually caused by bad oral hygiene — will bleed easily when they are touched. It’s like having a splinter under your skin that you never remove. The body will try to rectify the situation by bringing blood to the area and try to get rid of the infection.”

The more you floss, the less you’ll bleed and the better your oral health will be. Sinensky says to try a one-week challenge of flossing daily. You’ll see a significant improvement.

Problem #7: Drinking a sugary beverage at lunch

Gulping a sugary energy drink or soda may keep you mentally powered throughout the day, but it’s wreaking havoc on your oral health.

“A 16-ounce can, can have upwards of almost 30 grams of sugar,” says Marashi. “Sugars are carbohydrates that oral bacteria like to consume, and sugars are also acidic which can cause chemical erosion of your teeth.”

If you need a caffeine fix, swap out your sugary drinks for black or green tea, which are better for your oral health (and your overall health) since they don’t contain nearly as many sugars. You can also opt for coffee. To avoid staining, sip through a straw.

Problem #8: Buying whatever toothpaste is on sale

All toothpaste is not created equal. The better deal might not serve you well.

“It is important to look for the American Dental Association (ADA) stamp on products because the ADA ensures that proper testing has been done on a given toothpaste and that it contains the minimum amount of therapeutic ingredients to maintain a healthy, cavity-free mouth,” says Chern, who adds that this is also important when it comes to buying “all natural” products. “Ask your dental healthcare provider for their opinion of the best toothpaste to suite your individual needs. For example, if you have cavity issues it is important to use a toothpaste with fluoride and if gingivitis is an issue, there are a slew of toothpastes that can help with minimizing inflammation,” says Chern.

Problem #9: Using non-ADA approved whitening products

Similarly, not all whitening products are created equal. Chern says to only use products that have earned ADA stamps, which indicates the product’s been rigorously tested for formulation and efficacy. “The other products on the market may be a dice roll and cause issues such as sensitivity and damage, or not work at all,” she warns. “When in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider so they can educate you on the various over-the-counter products on the market.”

Problem #10: Only seeing the dentist when you’re in pain

Leaving work early to get to the dentist is, well, a pain — but it will save you real pain in the long run. Seeing a dentist regularly ensures your teeth and mouth are healthy. If you wait until you feel pain to see the dentist, there’s a strong likelihood you’re dealing with a serious issue versus one that could have been addressed effectively — and less expensively — much earlier.

“Many believe that if their mouth doesn’t hurt then there are no problems, and therefore they do not see their dentist regularly. However, a more intense and expensive treatment will be required if patients neglect to see their dentists at regular intervals and treat the small issues that may arise,” says Sinensky.

You should see your dentist for a regular checkup every six months. How long has it been for you? Time to get an appointment on the calendar.

CORRECTION (July 31, 2019, XXX): A previous version of this article misspelled the name of a dentist. She is Irina Sinensky, not Irena.


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Signs of Brushing Teeth Too Hard or Too Much

Yes, unfortunately, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. This, of course, is true when it comes to cake and cookies, but it’s also true when it comes to brushing your teeth! You may think that brushing more vigorously or more often will keep you safe from cavities. Sadly, the opposite is true. Here are signs you’re brushing too hard or too much.

Frayed Toothbrush

If you are looking for signs that you’re brushing too hard, you may not even need to look inside your mouth to find them! One way to tell you’re brushing too hard is if you find damage to your toothbrush. When you get a new toothbrush it comes with rounded bristles that are more gentle on your teeth. Over time with brushing too often or too hard, you’ll notice splayed bristles (or bristles that fan out). This is more likely to happen with older toothbrushes, but if it happens before the regular lifespan of your toothbrush is up, you’re probably over brushing.

One sign you’ll notice your smile of brushing too hard and too much are receding gums. If you brush too hard you can damage the gum tissue and make it begin to recede, exposing more of your tooth. Bleeding gums can also be a sign of over brushing.

Tooth Sensitivity

Another sign you’re brushing too hard or too much is tooth sensitivity. Your teeth are protected with enamel. When you over brush, you wear down the enamel faster than normal. Underneath the enamel, you have dentin, which is much more sensitive. The more you brush away the enamel, the more sensitive your teeth will be. Receding gums can also leave you with sensitivity as your gums protect and cover the root of your tooth. The root has many nerves and is extremely sensitive. The closer it is to being exposed, the more sensitive it will be.

“Dull” Smile

The loss of enamel will also leave your teeth looking less white and bright. If your teeth are looking a little dull, you may be brushing them too much!

If these signs of brushing too hard or too much seem familiar, it’s best to find a local dentist in your are to take a look at your smile. Because these signs can leave you vulnerable to cavities and other dental issues, you may be worried about receiving a large bill after visiting a dentist. It’s a good idea to look for free or low-cost dental care by finding a dentist by your insurance. There are many resources available like government dental assistance for adults, and dental insurance for low-income families to help you take care of your smile no matter what your situation.

Going to the dentist can be nerve-wracking. Besides finding an office with affordable dental care, find a dentist and office that makes you feel comfortable. At the Crawford Leishman Dental Group, you’ll feel at home in their cozy office and with their friendly staff, and experienced dentists. If you have any or several signs of brushing too hard or too often, visit the office of Crawford Leishman as soon as possible!

Is it possible to brush your teeth too hard? A dentist weighs in.

Brushing your teeth is one of the easiest ways to keep your dental health in tip-top shape. Brushing twice a day, choosing a good toothbrush, and remembering to visit your dentist are all part of an oral routine that can set you up for success. But is it possible that something as simple as brushing can be done incorrectly? Is it possible to brush too hard?

“Absolutely,” says Dr. Kami Hoss, founder of The Super Dentists. “We unfortunately see damage on teeth and/or gums from brushing too hard, or with the wrong toothbrush, bristles, or techniques, every day at our practice when new patients come to see us.”

Damage Caused By Brushing Too Hard

Brushing too hard and using a toothbrush with stiff, coarse bristles can wear down and damage both the teeth and gums, creating a host of issues, such as gum recession and enamel wear, both of which are linked to tooth sensitivity. According to Hoss, factors beyond brushing that may contribute to tooth sensitivity are a high-sugar diet and the usage of at-home teeth whitening kits.

Dr. Hoss explains that some people may brush too hard in an effort to “get rid of” all the bacteria that may be found in the mouth.

“One of the misconceptions behind brushing is that we are trying to ‘kill’ all the bacteria in our mouths,” says Dr. Hoss. “As a reference point, we have around seven billion microbes in our mouths — almost the same number of people on this planet. There is no way we can, or even should, kill all the microbes. Most of our oral microbiome, which is the collection of microbes and their genetic material, is actually beneficial and even crucial to our survival. By brushing, we should just try to keep plaque — the sticky material that microbes use to attach to teeth — thin.”

How To Brush Correctly

So, what is the best way to go about brushing? “Gently, but thoroughly,” says Dr. Hoss. “Of course, the dentist should be consulted for individual needs, but in general, we recommend using a soft toothbrush, putting the brush at a 45-degree angle so half of it is on the gums and half of it is on the teeth, and then wiggling the brush in small circles, sweeping away from each tooth. The front, back, and top of each tooth, and tongue, all needs to be brushed every time — brushing twice a day is ideal.”

Whether it’s related to brushing too hard or caused by other factors, if you’ve got tooth sensitivity (and in the US, as many as 4 in 10 people do), try Sensodyne Rapid Relief Toothpaste. It has a unique formulation with stannous fluoride that quickly creates a protective barrier over the sensitive areas of the teeth. When used twice daily, Sensodyne Rapid Relief provides clinically significant sensitivity relief in just three days.

Hard brusher? How to tell. Why to stop.

Question 1:
How do you hold your brush?

A) Firmly, like a hammer
B) Rigid, in my palm
C) Gently, in my fingertips

C) in fingertips!

Gripping your toothbrush too hard is a common cause of hard brushing. Try holding your brush gently with your fingertips like a paintbrush, or even better, use your non-dominate hand when brushing, to trick yourself into brush more gently!

Question 2:
What do bristles look like at 3 months?

A) The same as day 1!
B) A bit gnarly, but not awful
C) Smashed up and splayed

A) same as day 1!

You can tell you’re a hard brusher if your bristles get splayed and worn out after only 1-2 months. Soften up on your technique and sign up for a service like quip that will send you a fresh head when the bristles are worn out at 3 months!

Question 3:
How do you brush with your brush?

A) Sweeping left to right
B) Short, tooth-size strokes
C) Circular motions

B) tooth size strokes

Rather than movie-style circular brushing or sweeping back and forth movements, brush using short, tooth sized strokes. Sawing your toothbrush back and forth across your mouth leads to faster and harder strokes, which can wear away your tooth enamel and lead to receded gums, and your mouth can’t go back from there! Try using a gently vibrating brush as it can encourage softer, shorter stroke habits and allow you to concentrate more on each tooth

Question 4:
At what angle do you hold your brush?

A) Straight onto my teeth
B) At 45 degrees to gums
C) I don’t pay attention!

B) at 45 degrees

Brushing straight-on towards your teeth can be hard on your gum line, which can also cause receding gums! Consciously thinking about brushing at a 45-degree angle can help with softer brushing. Choose a slim electric toothbrush like quip to allow you to more easily hold and manipulate your brush to the right angle, which can often be difficult with a bulkier brush.

Question 5:
What type of bristles do you use?

A) Multi-angle, colored
B) Hard / eco bristles
C) Soft, flat cut, simple

C) Soft, flat cut

Some brushes have extra bells and whistles that can hurt your teeth. Hard bristles do not help you clean better, but actually eat away at your gums and enamel! Angled bristles can sometimes wear unevenly over time and can add more pressure on some areas of your gums more than others, leading to painful brushing. Use an even layered, soft bristle brush head without extra frills for the best, safest and most wholesome clean.

Overbrushing: Watch out for too much of a good thing

Brushing regularly is considered vital for healthy teeth and gums, but dental experts warn that you can overdo a good thing. Known as “toothbrush abrasion,” overbrushing can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums.

Vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel on the teeth as well as damage and push back the gums, exposing the sensitive root area. Receding gums can also lead to other dental problems such as periodontal disease and cavities on the roots of the teeth and may lead to the need for treatments such as fillings, root canals and tooth extraction. According to the Wall Street Journal, dentists estimate that between 10 to 20 percent of the population have damaged their teeth or gums as a result of overbrushing.

The people most at risk for tooth or gum damage from overbrushing are those who are particularly diligent about their oral care and those who use medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes. Other factors, such as a genetic predisposition to receding gums, clenching or grinding your teeth or having had your teeth straightened with braces, can increase your risk for damage from overbrushing.

Brushing vigorously isn’t necessary to remove plaque. “Plaque is so soft that you could remove it with a rag if you could reach all the surfaces where it hides,” says Kevin Sheu, DDS, director of professional services for Delta Dental. “Thoroughness is what is required for plaque removal, not aggressive brushing. You’re not going to achieve any extra benefit by brushing hard.”

Changing brushing habits can usually stop the problem from getting worse. In cases of severe toothbrush abrasion, dentists can fill in the grooves with bonding material.

Proper brushing technique

What’s important when brushing your teeth is not how hard you scrub, but that you use the proper technique and that you do a thorough job. And that takes time. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for two to three minutes to get the most thorough cleaning. The following are some other tips for brushing your teeth correctly:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent gum damage and wear on the soft tooth dentin (the less mineralized layer of tooth found just under the enamel) and in the root area. If you are accustomed to a hard-bristled toothbrush, even using a toothbrush that is softer than you are accustomed to will help.
  • Place the head of your toothbrush with the tips of the bristles at a 45-degree-angle to the gumline when brushing.
  • Move the toothbrush with short strokes and a scrubbing motion, several times in each spot – don’t saw back and forth across the teeth with your toothbrush.
  • Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums. If you are squashing the bristles, you’re brushing too hard.

Beware of brushing your teeth too long or too vigorously. Wall Street Journal Updated October 2015

The oral health information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. You should always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.

How Hard You Brush Affects Your Gums

Brushing Can Have Negative Effects?

We are not saying that brushing your teeth will lead to negative results for your teeth and gums. Brushing too hard – pressing the bristles against the teeth and gums with too much force – can definitely lead to oral problems. Our dentists, experts with years of experience, and our phenomenal team of dental masters have seen numerous cases of over-brushing and the effects it can have on the mouth. Brushing too hard can cause gums to recede, allowing for bacteria and plaque to build, and it can cause tooth enamel to wear away. Our magnificent staff can provide several solutions and fix any of the problems that arise.

How Do I Stop It?

If there has been damage due to over-brushing or brushing too hard, our dentists can provide relief and fix the issue. Those who notice this issue and want to prevent any future issues, follow these tips:

  • Buy a soft-bristled toothbrush and begin brushing with that. Hard-bristled toothbrushes can cause problems if you are prone to using too much pressure.
  • Position your brush at a 45 degree angle to the gum line while brushing.
  • Try not to saw back and forth when brushing. Make short, circular strokes.
  • Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against your gums. If the bristles are being squashed, then you are pressing too hard.

Prevent Poor Brushing Technique Today

Utilize these tips, ease up on the pressure, and stop future issues in their tracks. If you notice receding gums or damage to teeth, call us today and request an appointment with our professional team. We are proud to serve the families of Colorado Springs, CO, Stratmoor, Security-Widefield, Fountain, and the neighboring communities.

The Consequences Of Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

Learn proper tooth brushing techniques with Catonsville Family Dentistry

While frequent tooth brushing breaks down plaque and gets rid of bacteria, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. You should be brushing your teeth every morning and night to reduce tartar build up, toothbrush abrasion is a serious dental concern that leads to sensitive teeth and receding gums. When your gum line recedes, the roots of your teeth are exposed. They are sensitive and prone to infection when left unprotected. Rough brushing wears down the enamel of the teeth, as well, which makes them more vulnerable to decay. In this week’s blog we’ll take a look at the major consequences of brushing your teeth too hard, and explore proper techniques to get your oral health back on track.

The Risk Of Receding Gum lines

Gum recession involves the wearing away of gum tissue from the tooth’s root. When this happens, pockets, or gaps form between the teeth, above the gum line. These pockets are a breeding ground for the reproduction of bacteria. When you continuously brush vigorously, your gums will recede. If it goes untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures become damaged which could lead to periodontal disease. Gum disease is a major dental concern resulting in tooth loss, gum infection and sometimes require surgery to fix.

Brushing Your Teeth Properly

Pro tip: Don’t scrub too hard. Only clean for two to three minutes to get the most thorough cleaning. Using a soft bristled toothbrush will prevent bleeding and gum recession as well. Hard-medium bristled toothbrushes quickly tear away at gum tissues, especially with added pressure. You should be moving the toothbrush with short strokes and light scrubbing motion. Uncontrollable scrubbing back and forth will have your gums sore, bleeding, and receding from the root.

Call Catonsville Family Dentistry If You Have Receding Gums!

Catonsville Dental Care provides high-quality dental services to Catonsville, MD, and the surrounding areas. We offer teeth whitening, implants, Invisalign, dentures and other dental services as well as routine dental care and corrective treatments. With years of experience and countless testimonials, we’re your one-stop offices for all of your dental needs!

Book your appointment through our website today, or gives us a call today at 410-747-1115 for your FREE consultation or for more information on brushing your teeth properly! You can also view the rest of our services and current specials HERE.

For more information and tips regarding your dental health, visit our blog weekly or follow/like us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+.

Tags: brushing teeth, proper brushing, Receding gums

This entry was posted on Friday, July 1st, 2016 at 1:20 pm and is filed under Oral Health / Dental Health Tips in Catonsville . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Your patients can have a great smile and a healthy-looking mouth — and still have gingival gum recession. Receding gums can become concerning if the roots of the teeth become exposed, leaving them susceptible to decay, infection or loss.

Gum recession is a slow process where the pink tissue surrounding teeth wears away, thus exposing the tooth’s root. Patients don’t always realize it’s happening at first. But if treatment begins early, you can stop or even reverse gum recession in your patients.

Educate patients on why gums recede

The most common reason for gum recession is inflammation around gum tissue. Patients can physically wear away the gums by too vigorously brushing their teeth.

More from the author: 6 ways to help patients overcome fear of the dentist

“Whenever they brush too hard, it can actually cause more damage than periodontal disease or cavities,” says Sarah Thiel, RDH, a clinical practitioner and CEO of CE Zoom. “If you’re brushing your gums off, then your bone is actually decreasing too.”

Thiel explains to patients that bone is what holds teeth in. Brushing too hard can cause recession, which means bone is also decreasing. Thiel recommends an electric toothbrush that has a pressure protection sensor to gauge how hard patients brush, which helps those who have recession, or are prone to it, to brush using the right pressure.

Some people are prone to gingival gum recession due to genetic factors such as thick gums, the position of their teeth, or medical conditions like hormonal changes and diabetes. Gum recession can also be caused by oral piercings, misaligned teeth, certain medications and bruxism, or teeth grinding.

People who use tobacco products can also be predisposed to recession. “Tobacco products are known to leave behind a sticky plaque that makes gums more likely to recede,” says Jennifer Silver, DDS, of Macleod Trail Dental in Calgary, Alberta.

What’s more, aging can play a role in recession. Eighty-eight percent of patients 65 or older have gum recession around at least one tooth, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

And inflamed gums from poor oral hygiene can cause gingivitis (explained to patients as early gum disease) and periodontitis (explained as late-stage gum disease), which are conditions that lead to recession and bone loss.

Even though tooth brushing habits are the No. 1 reason for most patients’ gum recession, Silver tells her patients not to let the fear of brushing too hard keep them from practicing proper dental hygiene.

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“If you don’t brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis, you are at a far greater risk of developing a receding gum line. That’s because when too much plaque builds up on teeth, it weakens enamel along with the teeth and all surrounding tissues — including gums.”

How to address receding gums with your patients

Keeping patients in the know about what gum recession is, its likely causes and why it’s best to not ignore it can be critical to their oral health. Every patient who has some recession, is prone to it, or has conditions that make it more likely should understand what it is and how they can monitor any recession and help prevent it.

Here are a few questions to discuss with patients about gingival gum recession:

  1. Do any of their teeth suddenly look longer?

  2. Are they experiencing any tooth sensitivity?

  3. Do their gums bleed while brushing?

  4. Do they think they have bad breath often?

  5. Does food frequently get stuck in a particular spot?

  6. Are their teeth loose or shifting?

  7. Do they grind their teeth? (Fitting patients for a night dental guard is helpful because teeth grinding weakens teeth and can contribute to receding gums.)

  8. Do they have current or prior tobacco use?

  9. What kind of toothbrush do they use and do they think they might brush too hard?

Continue to page two to read more…

Overbrushing: What You Should Know

October 23, 2017

Brushing our teeth is something we take for granted. We do it daily, at least twice and we floss and use mouthwash. However, we can do incredible damage to our teeth and gums if we overbrush.

What is overbrushing?

Overbrushing is what happens when you brush your teeth for too long, too hard and improperly. Many people are guilty of this and, although you may not notice that you are doing, it’s important to correct overbrushing before it’s too late. Overbrushing leads to many problems that can be detrimental to not only your oral health but your overall health too.

What happens when you overbrush?

When you overbrush, you can severely damage your teeth and gums. If you notice that your gums are red and swollen after you brush, it could be a sign of overbrushing. Bleeding gums are also something to watch out for. Moreover, red, swollen and bleeding gums symptoms of gingivitis (early stages of gum disease) which needs to be treated ASAP before it progresses into periodontitis or advanced periodontitis.

Another sign of overbrushing is gum recession. To look for receding gums, smile in front of a mirror and examine your gums. Recessed gums are lower and expose the roots of your teeth. If your teeth look longer than they used too, then you could have a case of receding gums caused by overbrushing. When we brush improperly, too hard and more than we’re supposed to, our gums suffer and the surface of our teeth’s roots are vulnerable. When roots are exposed, they can be quite painful and make for sensitive teeth. If your gums recede to the point where the gum line has moved too much, it could require surgery to repair it.

Besides gum issues, overbrushing can lead to major tooth sensitivity. When you eat or drink cold and hot foods and feel a tinge of pain in your teeth, you’re experiencing sensitivity. By overbrushing, you are breaking down the outer layer of each tooth. The outer layer of the tooth is called enamel and it protects the underlying layers from destruction. When our enamel wears away from over brushing, it does not come back. Once enamel is gone, it’s gone for good and that leaves you with little options to repair the damage. (You can talk to your dentist about veneers or crowns that are placed on your teeth to help with tooth sensitivity.)

The proper way to brush your teeth

Overbrushing can be corrected if you brush your teeth the right way. To stop overbrushing, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle along your gum line. Move the toothbrush back and forth over each tooth occasionally switching to a concentric circular motion. Repeat on the inside surface of each tooth and on the top (chewing surface). Don’t forget about your back teeth. These can be hard to reach but you have to get them brushed to keep tooth decay and cavities away. Furthermore, to get rid of bad breath and the bacteria responsible for it, brush your tongue too. You can also brush the inside of your cheeks and the roof of your mouth as long as you are gentle. Bacteria can hide in those areas as well so it’s important to cover every part of your mouth.

It may seem like brushing too hard is better to remove food particles and bacteria, but in fact, it’s more harmful to your teeth. The pressure from overbrushing is too much for our teeth so be gentle.

How long should you be brushing your teeth?

The Canadian Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice daily for 2-4 minutes each time.
Do not exceed four minutes and if necessary, use a timer to ensure that you are not overbrushing. For children who cannot brush their own teeth, brush them gently for two minutes. As your child gets older and you notice that they are brushing too hard and too long, ask their dentist for tips on how to control this before they damage their gums and remove that precious layer of enamel.

Using the right toothbrush

In addition to how long and what techniques are used to brush our teeth, the toothbrush we use also plays a role in combatting overbrushing. When choosing a toothbrush, whether it’s manual or electric (both work equally if you have proper brushing techniques), look for one with soft bristles. Medium and hard bristles can cause further damage to your gums and reduce tooth enamel even more.

When the bristles of our toothbrush wear down, they become useless and can hurt your teeth. Replace your toothbrush every three months to ensure you aren’t wreaking havoc on your teeth and gums. Even with a soft-bristled toothbrush, it’s imperative that you change it every 90 days. For electric toothbrushes, this means changing the head. For manual toothbrushes, this entails throwing the brush out completely and replacing it with a brand new one.

Overbrushing is problematic if you don’t nip it in the bud. If you notice that your gums have receded or that your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold, please contact us. At Dawson Dental we offer solutions to all dental issues so that you can have excellent oral and overall health.

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