When it comes to brushing your teeth, is there such a thing as too much?
Turns out yes and no. One of those misconceptions about brushing is harder is not better. The same can also be said of a water Pik. Too strong of a setting can actually damage your teeth and gums, leading to problems like enamel wear and receding gums. All of which can in turn lead to tooth sensitivity. “Most 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, a Chicago-based dentist and consumeradvisor for the American Dental Association (ADA). “Brushing harder is 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
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
Here are some tips to how you can change your brushing technique, whether using a manual toothbrush or an electric.
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.
Gently move the brush back and forth. Use short, tooth-wide up and down strokes to clean the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of the teeth, the ADA recommends. 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 non-dominant 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. It may feel like an eternity, but after a period of time, you get used to it. If using a manual toothbrush, sing happy birthday in your head, to give you an approx amount of time for each region of our mouth. But most of all, 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.