Health

Are you brushing your teeth too hard?

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, May 20, 2018

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IF you have sensitive teeth, brushing too hard or using the wrong toothbrush altogether can make symptoms worse. Learn the proper technique for brushing your teeth.

When it comes to brushing your teeth, there is such a thing as proper technique. Brushing too hard — or using the wrong toothbrush — can damage your teeth and gums, leading to problems like enamel wear and receding gums, which can in turn lead to tooth sensitivity.

There is a tendency to brush aggressively, thinking it's the only way to get your teeth to feel clean and look whiter. That can be counterproductive because not only does it cause recession of your gums, but you also wear away the white, glossy enamel on your teeth, making them look yellow and darker. And when that happens, you're putting yourself at risk for developing sensitive teeth.

Not sure if you're brushing too hard? Take a look at your toothbrush. If you've been using it for three months or less, it should still appear relatively new. If it looks beat up and flat, that's a sign you're brushing way too hard.

The proper way to brush your teeth

It requires a lot of mindfulness, but you can change your hard-brushing ways. Follow these tips to brush properly to help relieve tooth sensitivity and prevent damage to your teeth and gums:

* Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Choose one that's labelled “soft” and replace it every three months — or sooner if it frays.

* Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. That way, the bristles can reach and clean underneath your gumline.

* Gently move the brush back and forth. Use short, tooth-wide strokes to clean the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of the teeth. If you have a lot of gum recession, your dentist may recommend you try the roll technique instead. If you're using an electric toothbrush, let it do all the work and just lightly glide it over your teeth instead of pushing it against them. To make sure you're using a gentle grip, try holding your toothbrush in your non-dominant hand.

Slow down. Dentists recommend that you brush for two full minutes — 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth — twice a day. Use the timer on your phone or choose an electric toothbrush that alerts you every 30 seconds. You don't really know what two minutes feels like until you actually brush that long. But when you're not rushing to finish, it will keep you more mindful about brushing too aggressively.

Sticking with these tips can help you keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy, while eliminating symptoms of tooth sensitivity.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at s hop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa for an opportunity to take advantage of weekly specials.

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