Brushing your teeth is an important part of keeping your mouth healthy, right? Well, it depends. It’s generally accepted within the dental community that brushing 2-3 times each day is the optimal amount of toothbrushing for reducing plaque, keeping gums healthy, etc. However, more and more dentists across the United States and several other countries are noticing a disturbing trend appropriately known as “over-brushing”.
Signs of Over-Brushing
According to a Huffington Post article, by Suzette Standring, the trend has been present for the past few decades, and is now at an all-time high. Dr. Valdemar Welz, a Boston dentist who has run his own practice for over 30 years, says “Everybody is seeing it in their practice.” The signs of over rushing are not difficult to spot. Dr. Welz says that the 2 most common indicators of over-brushing are: heightened tooth sensitivity and tooth enamel damage.
It’s Not the Toothbrushes’ Fault
You may be wondering what causes the nasty effects produced by over brushing. Well, contrary to what some of you may be thinking, it’s not the toothbrush causing the heightened sensitivity and reduction in tooth enamel. Blame it on the toothpaste. Dentists speculate that the tooth-whitening craze in recent years has spawned a great number of abrasive toothpastes on the market. Dental product companies are engaged in a cutthroat battle for tooth whitening toothpaste supremacy. As a result, some harsh and unsafe products are flooding the market. The effects of harsh toothpaste are compounded by the excessive amount of toothpaste and vigorous brushing habits of the average brusher.
Don’t be a Victim of Over Brushing
Thankfully, avoiding over-brushing is not difficult. A little common sense goes a long way in this case. The first recommendation I have is to heed your dentist’s advice first and foremost. If your dentist recommends you brush 3 times per day, brush 3 times per day. Secondly, do not use excessive amounts of toothpaste. Most dental professionals recommend using only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with each brushing. That’s all that’s needed to do the trick. Finally, for all you powerbrushers out there, slow down and be gentle(but not too gentle). Too much pressure is never good, but you also want to make sure you’re really brushing the teeth, gums, and tongue adequately.
While it seems counter-intuitive when dentists preach moderation when it comes to brushing your teeth, the disturbing trend of over brushing is very real. The consequences can be a nuisance at best: heightened sensitivity and eroded tooth enamel. Not fun at all - and could potentially lead to further oral problems. So, if you’re experiencing either of these conditions, check with your dentist as soon as possible to rule out more serious oral health problems.
Further Over-Brushing Resources
For further information regarding “over-brushing”, you may want to check out Suzette Standrings article in the Huffington Post, “ Too Much Toothpaste Damages Teeth “. CBS5.com also published an informative news segment on “ over brushing “.