Overbrushing when there’s too much of a Good Thing


overbrushingSan Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

We grow up knowing about the importance of brushing our teeth every day to help maintain good oral health, but too much of even a good thing can be a detriment. Your local San Francisco dentist at Glen Park Dental wants to make you aware of the potential dangers of overbrushing.

Also referred to as toothbrush abrasion, overbrushing can deteriorate the enamel on your teeth. Continuing in the behavior also can, over time, damage your gums or cause receding gums, which can expose the roots and significantly increase your risk of gum disease or cavities on the tooth roots. Not to mention, cause your teeth to be sensitive.

Overbrushing is more common than you might think. An article published by the Wall Street Journal in February of 2000 reported that dentists estimate that as many as 10 to 20 percent of all Americans have damaged their teeth, gums, or both as a consequence of overbrushing.

Ironically, overbrushing is most prevalent among individuals who are especially diligent about maintaining their oral health. Those who use medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes are at a higher risk of sustaining damage from overbrushing. A genetic predisposition to receding gums can increase your risk of damage, as can clenching or grinding your teeth—a behavior that is known as bruxism—or having your teeth straightened through an orthodontic treatment method such as braces.

Vigorous brushing is not necessary to clean your teeth properly; you can achieve the same result by using a soft toothbrush and more gentle techniques.

What should your brushing routine consist of then? Your local San Francisco dentist recommends you brush your teeth for at least two to three minutes at a time. Trade out your medium- or hard-bristled toothbrush for a soft-bristled one. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush protects you against gum damage or unnecessary wear on dentin—the mineralized layer of your tooth located underneath the enamel. Once you have your soft-bristled brush, place the head with the tips of the bristles at a 45-degree angle in relation to your gum line. Using a scrubbing motion, apply the toothbrush with several short strokes in the same spot before moving on to other teeth. Never use a sawing, back-and-forth motion. Apply just enough pressure to where you can feel the bristles against your gums. If you are squashing the bristles against your teeth and gums, you are overbrushing.

Bay Area Dentist

At Glen Park Dental, your local San Francisco dentist emphasizes the importance of oral hygiene and preventive care. By maintaining a comprehensive regimen that includes visiting your dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and comprehensive examination of your teeth and mouth, you maintain a high level of oral health while also diagnosing, identifying, and treating any problems in their earliest stages. At your next check-up, a member of our team of dental professionals will be happy to go over the proper brushing techniques with you. Just contact our Bay Area office by calling (415) 585-1500 to schedule an appointment today.

Glen Park Dental is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco, California.