Is Your Toothbrush Your Enemy?

We all know the importance of brushing your teeth to help maintain a healthy mouth. However, brushing improperly or too aggressively can have damaging effects on both the teeth and the gums. As seen in the photos below, this patient has caused significant gum loss (gingival recession) and wear to the teeth (attrition). If allowed to progress without help this condition can lead to nerve damage, tooth fracture and even tooth loss. To avoid this condition you must consider the toothbrush, the toothpaste and the brushing technique.

When buying a new toothbrush it should have soft or extra soft bristles. The bristles should be rounded and polished. Cheap toothbrushes, often available for sale in local dollar stores, may have soft bristles but not rounded and polished ends, this will lead to significant wear of the teeth and gums. If you are prone to tooth wear or gum recession, consider less abrasive toothpastes such as Sensodyne. Whitening toothpastes and baking soda toothpastes are typically very high in abrasives which worsen recession and can increase sensitivity. Finally, when brushing do not use a horizontal scrubbing motion with your teeth clamped together and don’t push too hard. Instead, angle your bristles 45 degrees to the teeth, brush in a gentle circular motion, while keeping your teeth apart. Electric rotary toothbrushes, such as the Oral B, are great at helping eliminate tooth wear by not only providing a safer brushing motion but also by alerting the user when they are pushing too hard.
If you have any questions regarding brushing technique or dental products available, please do not hesitate to talk with one of our Dentist or Hygienists.