The importance of frequent brushing and flossing is common knowledge. Using the proper techniques, teeth and gums can remain healthy, strong and beautiful. But it may come as a surprise to you that we have also seen patients who damage their teeth and gums by overdoing their dental hygiene routine.
Although the teeth seem very solid, they can only handle so much. Between the acids naturally found in the saliva and the pressures of biting and chewing, they take quite a beating each day. When the daily dental care ritual is harsh as well, it can really add up, causing damage to the teeth and the gum tissue which can contribute to gum disease. Pittsburgh periodontist Dr. Silberg wants to ensure that you avoid these costly problems and maintain the health of your teeth and gums.
Toothbrush abrasion is the damage that is caused by the hard scrubbing of the teeth and gums. It can compromise the integrity of your enamel, resulting (ironically) in a greater susceptibility to cavities, and in receding gums. This can result in discoloration of the teeth, and teeth which appear overly long.
In order to avoid toothbrush abrasion, it is important to use proper brushing technique. The first step would be choosing a toothbrush with softer bristles. Dental plaque is soft and requires no more pressure to remove than wiping the surface with a soft cloth. Because of the many contours and crevices of the teeth, we use bristles in order to help us reach every surface of each tooth–but they shouldn’t be any harder than necessary.
When brushing, you should use small, circular motions, rather than straight side-to-side or up-and-down motions, making sure to apply just enough pressure to gently clean the teeth. If the bristles of your toothbrush are splaying outward, (and especially if your toothbrush has a frayed appearance after being used for a few weeks or months), you are pushing too hard. While you are brushing, point the bristles at a 45 degree angle toward your gums so that the soft tissue is cleaned and strengthened as well. It is good to brush for about two minutes to be sure you cover all of the surfaces, but not much longer. Even with proper technique, brushing for long periods of time can also cause toothbrush abrasion.
To keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong, visit your Pittsburgh periodontist, Dr. Silberg, regularly. Together we can ensure that you receive the best care possible for your beautiful smile. Make an appointment today!