What is over brushing exactly? Over brushing occurs when a person brushes his or her gums too hard or with a toothbrush that is too firm.
Over brushing the gum line can wear away the gums, causing them to recede or shrink away from the tooth. This change in the gums is permanent, as gums are not able to grow back.
There are two main concerns associated with over brushing and the subsequent recession of gums:
- The first is aesthetics. The tooth structure under the gums is often yellow in colour, contrasting with the rest of the tooth. This can be seen where there has been over brushing and recession of the gums. Furthermore, the change in gum line levels can also appear unappealing to the eye.
- The second concern is sensitivity. The tooth root under the gums is very delicate and can easily be irritated by cold foods and drinks. Thus, a common concern in patients who over brush is that their teeth are overly sensitive.
Excessive brushing can be avoided by incorporating these brushing techniques:
- Use the toothbrush in small circular motions, avoiding a back and forth “scrubbing” motion.
- Remember that brushing harder will not make your teeth more clean! Brush gently. This applies to both manual and electric toothbrushes.
- Use a soft head toothbrush because anything more firm will be too abrasive.