Most people believe that the harder you brush your teeth the cleaner and healthier they will be. We can certainly understand why people would think this is true, after all if you're trying to remove more stains and plaque from your teeth it only makes sense to apply more pressure, just like you would if you were trying to remove stains and food particles from your dirty dish. But when it comes to the overall health of your mouth, we have to take into consideration more than just teeth, in this case your gums.
What is the problem with brushing too hard?
The problem with brushing too hard and aggressively is that you run the risk of brushing "away your gums". If you happen to have brushed away too much of your gums, it may be past the point where they can no longer "grow back" to where they once were, this is known as gum recession. Gum recession can lead to a variety of problems such as sensitivity, higher risk of decay and cosmetics concerns, but we will talk more about gum recession and its problems in a future blog.
It's also true that brushing too hard can also damage your tooth's enamel which can cause your teeth to look yellow, this is because little by little you start removing more and more of your tooth's enamel (the outer white and glossy tooth layer) and exposing more and more dentin (the inner yellow/brown tooth layer). Most people can't tell they are brushing away their enamel until it's too late, you will typically see gum recession before you noticed any enamel wear which is known as enamel abrasion.
You should know that brushing too hard isn't necessary to thoroughly removed all plaque from your teeth. Plaque can easily be removed by brushing gently and with a soft toothbrush. If you noticed that you still have build up (tartar/calculus which is plaque that has calcified) even after you have brushed your teeth, then it has gotten to a point where you cannot remove this with your toothbrush, no matter how hard you brush or with the hardest bristled toothbrush. This is the time you will need some professional help from your dentist or dental hygienist to remove the build up for you. So give them a call and schedule your next dental cleaning and check up!
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