The whole point of brushing your teeth is to remove plaque and food debris, so plenty of people assume that brushing vigorously is the way to go. In fact, brushing too hard, or ‘overbrushing’, is a serious problem.
Here are just four reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
- You Don’t Need to
Before covering the problems associated with overbrushing, it’s worth mentioning that you really don’t need to brush very hard. There’s a misconception that plaque can only be removed when you go hard, but relatively light brushing is all you need. If you’re pressing down hard enough to cause the handle of the toothbrush to bend even slightly, you should ease up. If you are unsure of whether you have the right technique, ask your dentist for further advice.
- You Can Remove Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel is incredibly hard – it’s the hardest substance in your entire body. However, it can still be worn down through overbrushing. This won’t happen overnight, but overbrushing twice a day can eventually lead to enamel loss. Once that enamel is gone, it’s gone. Once that happens, your teeth will be more vulnerable to bacteria and less capable of protecting themselves from decay.
- Gum Recession
It isn’t only your teeth you need to worry about. When you brush too hard, you’re likely to irritate the gums. This is partly because of the overzealous motion and excessive pressure, but it’s also because brushing too hard causes toothbrush bristles to splay out and start rubbing against the gums. When this happens, the gums will start to recede, leaving the lower surfaces of your teeth exposed. The lower parts of your teeth are covered in cementum rather than enamel, so they aren’t as strong.
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by several underlying issues, but most of them revolve around the loss of enamel. When that protective surface is worn away, hot and cold temperatures penetrate more easily. If you overbrush, you could suddenly find yourself experiencing discomfort when you eat or drink something hot or cold.