Brushing your teeth: Can I do too good a job?
We're starting off the New Year with some very helpful dental advice from our Dental Expert Robert Molloy. This week he sheds some light on whether or not you can brush 'too hard'.
By Robert Molloy
Recently, I visited my dentist and he said that I was brushing my teeth too hard. What does this mean? Am I doing too good a job?
Thanks for the question.
I know that it can seem like Dentists are never happy. We always want you to change something, but it’s estimated that two out of three people apply too much pressure when brushing their teeth. Not only can this contribute to receding gums, but it can actually create grooves in the surface of your teeth too.
So, how do you know if you’re guilty of too much toothbrush gusto? It should be light finger pressure. If you can’t hear the bristles moving while you brush your teeth, you’re brushing too hard. Ideally, you should lightly glide a soft brush over your teeth to remove plaque.
Many years ago there was an advert on the T.V. that explained that if you are pressing hard enough to blanch the skin of a tomato, then you’re brushing too hard – an easy rule of thumb. Another way of knowing is to look at your brush. The bristles on the side should not look splayed out like in the toothbrush picture below.
When the bristles on the side of your brush start to fray, then you know it's time to change it.
For teeth that have grooves worn in them – as a result of aggressive brushing – this is known as toothbrush abrasion. Bonding white filling material into those grooves can help revitalise your smile by smoothing the ridges in the tooth surface and improving colour. Bonding will also help protect exposed roots, which will reduce pain and sensitivity.
Usually quick and painless, so no need for needles or anaesthetic, it involves using an ultraviolet light to harden and smooth the filling material, creating a natural-looking result. So, after all that, what your Dentist is trying to do for you is avoid causing any of these grooves or receding of the gums.
Follow the above advice and you should be ok or if you’re still worried about brushing too hard then visit your Dentist (or pop into us) and bring your brush to show them what kind you use.
Redmond Molloy is a well renowned dental practice based in Dublin, with offices in Santry, Sutton, Balbriggan and at Grand Canal Quay. For more details, check out www.redmondmolloy.ie or mail firstname.lastname@example.org.