Woman brushing her teeth

Everyone knows that you should be brushing your teeth twice a day & flossing once a day in order to keep your teeth clean & prevent decay. While some dental professionals recommend brushing more frequently, is it possible to overdo your oral health habits?

The short answer is yes. But it’s not something you have to really worry about once you understand what harm can & can’t be done.

What Makes Brushing Effective?

Brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste helps to clean residue, including plaque, off your teeth. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, or even after each meal, to dislodge plaque before it has a chance to harden into tartar, which can’t be removed with at-home oral care & leads to tooth decay.

How Can Brushing Be Harmful?

It is possible to harm your teeth if you use improper equipment. Dentists usually recommend using a soft-bristle toothbrush, rather than medium- or hard-bristle brushes, so you don’t wear away the enamel that’s protecting your teeth. Brushing your teeth too hard can have the same effect, even if you use a soft-bristle brush. However, many electric toothbrushes will alert you when you’re brushing too hard so you can ease up a bit.

Similarly, using a toothpaste that is too abrasive, or using too much toothpaste, can rub away the enamel of your teeth, exposing the vulnerable inner layers to decay. Enamel doesn’t come back so it’s important to protect it so it can protect your teeth.

Additionally, while it’s important to brush your gums, if you use too much pressure, it can cause your gums to recede. Flossing too hard can also damage your gums, exposing parts of the teeth that don’t have enamel to protect them, making them extra susceptible to bacteria & decay.

How Do I Avoid Harming My Teeth?

Enamel is extremely strong, & it takes prolonged abuse for it to wear away, so don’t be afraid of overdoing your at-home dental care in just a few weeks or months. At your six-month cleaning appointments, your dentist will let you know if they see any warning signs that you should be aware of. Follow your dentist’s instructions & if you have any questions or concerns, just ask! We are happy to talk to you about improving your at-home oral health care habits.

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