Did you know that even the best toothbrush can damage your teeth? When used improperly, toothbrushes can cause abrasions to the gums and teeth. What may be even more surprising is that people most at risk are those who are extra diligent about their oral care routine. According to a 2000 article of The Wall Street Journal, between 10-20% of the American population has damaged their teeth or gums from overbrushing. How do you prevent damage from happening? Choose your brush carefully and follow the steps below when brushing:
1. Don’t brush right away! Wait at least 60 minutes after meals to brush your teeth, especially if you drank or have eaten something acidic, like lime or soda. Acidic food can weaken your tooth’s protection — the enamel — and brushing immediately after can wear the enamel down.
2. It’s not how hard you scrub. Aggressive brushing will just wear down your enamel sooner. What’s more important is using a proper brushing technique to ensure a thorough cleaning. Position your brush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline before brushing.
3. The strokes are important too. Don’t use a sawing motion. Instead, do short, gentle strokes in each spot, from the edge of the teeth to the gumline. Pay extra attention to the back teeth and be sure to brush your tongue, too.
If you happen to be using an electric toothbrush, just let it glide lightly on your teeth and don’t exert too much pressure on it.
Choosing the Best Toothbrush
Although a proper brushing technique is crucial to healthy teeth and gums, the main culprit of teeth and gum abrasion is often the toothbrush itself. Medium- to hard-bristled toothbrushes can be hard on the teeth, particularly if you tend to brush vigorously. This is why the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends only using soft-bristled toothbrushes.
Other features to look for when selecting the right brush:
1. Size. Choose a toothbrush with a head that is around an inch tall and a half-inch wide. This is the most effective size for adults because it can be effectively maneuvered to reach all surfaces of the teeth, even those hard-to-reach areas. Children need smaller toothbrush heads.
2. Electric or manual. Both toothbrushes get the job done, but Dr. White does recommend an electric toothbrush. Remember to give yourself atleast a two week trial period to get used to using an electric toothbrush. The Sonicare electric toothbrushes, the Oral-B iO, or the Oral-B Genius are our recommendations.
3. Safety. Choose a toothbrush that has been given the ADA seal of approval as it has been tested for safety.
4. Handles. The handle shouldn’t be too thin or too thick. Choose one with a grip that lets you easily control the toothbrush.
Remember that when brushing your teeth, the way to a spotless smile is proper technique and tools.
Have questions about your oral care routine?
Ask us. We’re here to help you maintain a beautiful smile and healthy mouth. Call us at 541-708-6288 to inquire or book a visit.