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Are Your Brushing Habits So Diligent That You're Actually Damaging Your Teeth And Gums?

by Randy Rodriguez

We've all heard that brushing your teeth thoroughly and regularly is a vital component of good oral health. You might think that the harder and longer you brush, the better. But did you know that you can actually be causing damage to your teeth and gums if you're over-brushing?

A British study found that brushing teeth harder and faster doesn't remove any additional plaque, according to BBC News. In fact, brushing too vigorously can cause permanent damage, the study found.

These tips can help you ensure that you're causing your teeth and gums no harm with your brushing habits.

Use a soft-bristled brush

Toothbrushes are frequently available in a choice of soft, medium or hard bristles. Dentists recommend soft bristles, because harder ones could hurt your gums and cause them to recede over time. Harder bristles can also wear away enamel and cause dentin (the softer layer of tooth under the enamel) to become exposed, making your teeth more sensitive.

Be gentle

Brushing too hard and fast can also wear down your tooth enamel and damage your gums. You may think you're removing more plaque by bearing down hard, but that isn't the case. Plaque is soft and isn't difficult to remove when it first forms. It's only later, when it's not properly removed by brushing and flossing, that plaque hardens. Dentists recommend brushing gently in small circles rather than from side to side as many people do.

Two minutes is ideal

Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes. This is the optimum brushing time for the average person. When you brush for more than two minutes, you're not removing any additional plaque and are instead increasing the chance that you'll cause damage, the British study found.

Time it right

Try to wait for up to an hour after you eat sweets or citrus fruits before you brush your teeth. The high acid content in these foods can temporarily soften your tooth enamel, making it more vulnerable to damage. Giving your teeth a little more time will let your enamel re-harden.

Brush two or three times a day

Two times a day (morning and night) is the minimum schedule for brushing your teeth. It's also good to brush them after lunch if you can. But brushing any more than that can damage your gums and wear away tooth enamel.

Brushing is certainly invaluable when it comes to maintain good oral health. But this is one of those instances where too much of a good thing can actually cause harm. Talk to a dentist like Dr John Kit Dentist for more brushing tips.