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About Us < Dental Services < Cleaning < Toothbrush Abrasion
  Dr Minh Nguyen
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Toothbrush Abrasion

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.

What causes toothbrush abrasion?

Toothbrush abrasion is caused by improper brushing. As strange as it may seem, teeth and gums are fragile tissues. Improper brushing can cause destructive problems like:

  • 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 labeled "sensitive."

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 too hard.

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.

You may also be interested in:

Fresh breath and how to get it, how to keep it
Grinding Your Teeth (Bruxism)
Gum Disease and Heart Attacks: Is There a Connection?
Think smokeless tobacco is safer than cigarettes? Think again
Sleep ApneaóIt's More Than Just Snoring
Brushing Your Teeth
The Proper Flossing Technique
Importance of Regular Exams
Plaque Disclosing Tablets
Homecare for periodontal disease
Dental superfloss
Preventive dental sealants
Nutrition and Your Health
Dental Ultrasonic Scaling

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