Country driving at 55 mph at night can really leave your bumper and windshield a disaster with bugs! Have you ever tried scrubbing those bugs off the front of your car? If you have, you know it takes some major pressure and elbow grease to get those bugs off. Fortunately, it doesn’t take the same force to clean plaque and bacteria from our teeth. We probably all know someone though who really goes to town with brushing their teeth, such as the family member whom you can hear brushing their teeth through the closed bathroom door. This intensive level of tooth brushing is not needed to clean your teeth. It can actually lead to less than desirable consequences such as toothbrush abrasion.
What Is Toothbrush Abrasion?
Toothbrush abrasion is the wear of tooth or gum structures that happens as a result of tooth brushing. It can happen from using too much force while brushing but it can also happen from using too abrasive of toothpaste or from using too hard of a toothbrush.
While toothbrush abrasion can show up on the enamel of teeth, it is more likely to affect other less resistant areas first. We usually notice the abrasion of the gums first since gum tissue is not able to withstand the same force that enamel can. As gum tissue recedes, we may notice that the toothbrush wears away at the root surface that is no longer protected by the gum tissue. The root surface of our teeth is much softer than the enamel of our teeth, thus it will show signs of abrasion much quicker than enamel will.
It is still possible for toothbrush abrasion to show up on enamel, but its far less common than gingiva and root surface abrasion. This is because the enamel on your teeth is the strongest substance in the body.
How Do I Know If I Am Brushing Too Hard?
If you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush, you will often know if you are brushing too hard because your toothbrush bristles splay outward within a few weeks or months of getting your toothbrush. If you are using a hard-bristled toothbrush, the bristles may not splay out as easily but you may notice signs of gum tissue recession. You might also notice cold sensitivity or sensitivity to brushing at gumline in areas where toothbrush abrasion is happening.
What Is The Proper Way To Brush?
Often the best way to know if you are brushing incorrectly is to understand what the proper way is to brush. Proper brushing takes being mindful of how you are brushing. Here are some helpful tips and guidelines to follow when it comes to brushing your teeth:
- Place the soft toothbrush at 45 degree angle to the gumline.
- Use short, single-tooth wide back and forth strokes.
- -Brush all surfaces of your tooth.
- Light pressure is all it takes to remove plaque since plaque is soft and can easily be removed.
- If you brush too hard, try holding your toothbrush with only 3 fingers instead of your whole hand grasp.
- 2 minutes of brushing twice a day is all it takes, no need to over brush!
What Can Be Done For Toothbrush Abrasion?
First of all, try to figure out what has contributed to your toothbrush abrasion. Is it too hard of bristles, too much brushing pressure, or just plain over-brushing? Once you have figured that out, change your ways to prevent any further damage.
For abrasion that has already happened, there are a few options. If it has affected the enamel of your tooth or a root surface, your dentist may be able to bond a tooth-colored filling over the abraded area of the tooth. If you’re noticing sensitivity due to abrasion, fluoride treatments may help or bond a tooth-colored filling may also reduce symptoms. If you notice receded gums due to abrasion, there really is no solution without doing surgery. Browse our website or give us a call to learn more about our dental services and how we can help your abrasion.
If you think you may be experiencing sensitivity, gum recession, or other abrasion symptoms, it is a good idea to discuss this with your dentist. Addressing these issues in a timely manner can save you from problems in the long term.