The chances are that you brush your teeth twice a day if you are conscientious about your oral hygiene. You may even brush after meals since you know that regular tooth brushing is a good habit that removes plaque and prevents tooth decay. Maybe you’re wondering, “Can you brush your teeth too much?” As it turns out, when it comes to brushing your teeth, there can be too much of a good thing.
Overbrushing your teeth refers to both “how much” and “how” you brush. If you brush too vigorously or compulsively, you put your mouth at risk for dental abrasion, dental sensitivity, and gum recession.
According to the University of Southern California Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, dental abrasion is the loss of tooth structure caused by mechanical forces from a foreign object. The enthusiastic use of your toothbrush wears away the tooth enamel and eventually the softer dentin and cementum structures. Abrasion is characterized by worn, shiny, and often yellow or brown spots on the surface of a tooth near the gum line. A wedge-shaped or V-shaped indentation on the gum line is another sign of abrasion.
If the tooth enamel is worn away by toothbrush abrasion, the dentin layer’s nerve endings become exposed or close enough to the surface to cause tooth sensitivity. You may experience discomfort or pain when your teeth are exposed to hot, cold, sweet, or sour stimuli or when you brush your teeth.
Continually overbrushing and brushing improperly may also cause your gums to recede. The softer cementum of the root is exposed and vulnerable when this occurs. The exposed cementum is not only prone to wear and notching, causing sensitivity and pain, but it is also more likely to decay.
How to protect your teeth after overbrushing
Dental abrasion and gum recession can lead to cavities and even tooth loss if not treated. Depending on the degree of toothbrush abrasion and tooth sensitivity, your dentist may recommend treatments to cover the exposed dentin and protect the tooth. Some common treatments include applying a fluoride varnish to strengthen the teeth’s surface, bonding a tooth-colored filling over the abraded area, or covering the exposed area with a veneer. Overbrushing may cause your gums to recede so far that they may never return to their original size. In some cases, gum grafting might be needed to replace missing gum tissue and protect exposed cementum.
Using the Proper Brushing Technique and Tools
Fortunately, preventing overbrushing is as simple as using the correct technique and tools. Start by following these steps:
- Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You may think that stiff bristles will do a better job of cleaning your teeth. However, they increase the risk of dental abrasion and gum recession.
- Be sure to check your toothpaste. Toothpaste with high abrasive agents may also speed up the process of tooth loss. Choose a toothpaste that contains calcium and fluoride to strengthen your tooth enamel.
- Make sure you are using the right technique. Are you brushing too hard? Look at your toothbrush. Using too much pressure might cause your bristles to flatten and fray within a few weeks. Place your toothbrush gently at an angle towards your gum line and brush in a soft circular motion.
- Do not brush immediately after eating. You should wait at least 60 minutes after eating or drinking to brush your teeth, especially after consuming something acidic like lemons or soda. While you wait, drink water or chew sugarless gum to freshen your breath.
- Take a look at your other habits. Overbrushing isn’t the only source of abrasion. As an example, suppose you routinely open bottles with your teeth, handle nails or pins with your mouth, or bite your fingernails. In that case, those activities might also cause dental abrasion or even a broken tooth. Enamel can also be worn away by lip or tongue piercings.
When it comes to a perfect smile, overbrushing won’t help. You will achieve clean teeth and a healthy mouth when you use the appropriate tools and implement a gentle but thorough brushing technique. Contact Westlake Dental Care today to schedule an appointment with or Roselle dentist today.
Throughout childhood, children are taught the importance of good oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice a day. Is this enough? Does it affect more than just your oral health? There have been many studies on this subject, but finding the truth can be challenging. Several studies have been criticized, and experts will need to wait a bit longer before truly determining whether poor oral health negatively impacts brain function. Based on the earlier findings, it appears that there is indeed a link between poor oral health and poor brain function.
What else is affected by poor oral health?
Quite a few things can be impacted by this. Brain function is not the only one. Poor oral health can negatively impact the heart. Men are especially at risk for cardiovascular diseases. Hundreds of bacteria from the gums can make their way to the heart and this can lead to the hardening of your arteries. You may experience thickening of the blood, which could lead to a blockage resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Because you breathe in air that has been contaminated by bacteria in your mouth, your lungs are also at risk. Generally, poor oral hygiene can result in inflamed and infected gums and teeth.
How does it affect brain function?
Aside from all the detrimental factors listed above, there has been research suggesting that poor oral health contributes to dementia. Essentially, if you have gingivitis, the bacteria may enter the brain through the various nerve pathways. In addition, bacteria can enter the brain through the bloodstream. According to some experts, this can cause dementia. Some believe it may even be the sole cause of the terrible disease.
Researchers at Rutgers University, New Jersey, conducted a recent study in which they examined whether poor oral health could contribute to brain dysfunction. The study primarily explored certain cognitive aspects and found that they have an impact on memory and general function, something that may surprise the average patient. According to the study, there is a significant relationship between oral health and memory. It is also noteworthy that oral health has the potential to influence complex attention and learning.
Additionally, there was a relationship between oral health and stress, or at least perceived stress. High levels of stress are associated with dry mouth. Good oral hygiene is even more important for the elderly. The downside of this is that it may lead to impaired cognitive function, episodic memory loss, or in the worst-case scenario, complete dementia.
How Can You Stop It?
Your first step should be to assess your own oral health methods. As a result, you could begin to develop better hygiene practices that could help safeguard you against any of the above issues. If you are unsure of where to begin, speak to your dentist. Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. Use a good toothpaste, preferably one containing fluoride. Make sure you are flossing every day to keep your gums healthy and prevent decay from developing between your teeth. Mouthwashes are effective in killing bacteria and, when used properly, can be advantageous as part of your oral health routine. Most importantly, be sure you see your Roselle IL dentist at least two times a year to have your teeth cleaned and examined.