When you think of all the negative impacts of poor oral health, it can be easy to get aggressive with your brushing. Plaque build-up become tartar and can cause gum disease. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and increases your risk of other more serious health problems. Plaque & tartar cause bad breath, dental cavities, and infections. But don’t just grab your toothbrush and go to town on your teeth, harsh or aggressive brushing can cause a host of problems of their own.
Check for Warning Signs
Here are some clues that you might be brushing too hard:
- Frayed and outward turned bristles on your brush
- Receding gums
- Bleeding gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Darker areas near your gumline where roots are being exposed
Pick Your Toothbrush Carefully
When shopping for a toothbrush, try to pick one that has soft or medium soft bristles. With regular brushing, you shouldn’t need to apply much pressure to remove plaque. It’s only when plaque sits and hardens that it becomes difficult to remove. If you have tartar build-up, it’s best to see your dentist to get it removed. They have tools that can effectively remove tartar without damaging your teeth or gums.
Additionally, you can consider buying an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can be more efficient with less force. Also, many electric toothbrushes also have sensors to detect when you’re applying too much pressure, and may even shut off.
The Right Pressure
You should view brushing your teeth as more of a gentle massage for your gums, rather than a scrubbing of your teeth. Gums have nerves that give more feedback than teeth, so it can be easier to tell how hard you are brushing. If you can, hold your toothbrush with just three fingers. This will help moderate the pressure you can apply while brushing.
Regular gentle brushing is sufficient to keep your teeth clean. If your teeth don’t feel clean, you should see a dental hygienist for help removing stuck-on tartar.