We all know that we need to brush and floss every day. Proper brushing
removes plaque, food debris, and bacteria from our teeth. Improper brushing,
though, can be destructive, damaging the very teeth and gums that weíre
trying to keep healthy.
Toothbrush abrasion is caused by improper brushing. As strange as it may
seem, teeth and gums are fragile tissues. Improper brushing can cause destructive
- Receding gums
- Wearing away of tooth structure at the gum line
- Sensitive teeth
- Weaker teeth
How to brush properly
Proper tooth brushing involves these three things:
- A soft toothbrush
- A non-abrasive toothpaste with fluoride
- Good brushing technique
Use a soft toothbrush. A soft
toothbrush also makes it much easier to remove the plaque below the gum line,
where periodontal disease starts.
Use a pea-sized amount of non-abrasive toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride
hardens the outer enamel layer of teeth, may stop a developing cavity,
and gives you more resistance to future cavities. Toothpastes that are
labeled "whitening" or "tartar control" can sometimes
be too rough on receding gums and exposed roots, wearing away the rootís
protective layer. You can be sure a toothpaste is non-abrasive if itís
Use proper brushing technique.
Angle the bristles of the brush along the gum line at a 45 degree angle and
apply just enough pressure so the bristles slide under the gum line. Vibrate
the brush while you move it in short back and forth strokes and in small
circular motions. Donít brush too hard. If youíre not sure whether youíre
pressing too hard, try holding the brush with two fingers. Thatís all the force
the brush needs to remove bacteria from the gum line. Hereís another tip: if
your brush bristles have bent over with time, you probably have been pressing
If you find that you have a hard
time brushing gently, consider using an electric toothbrush. They remove food,
bacteria, and plaque very well, and they make it much easier to use less
pressure. These days, some advanced electric toothbrushes will even stop or
alert you when you are pressing too hard.
And donít forget to floss.
Brushing harder wonít get bacteria out from between the teeth.
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