Brushing our teeth is one of the first things we learn as a child.
It's one of the first things, if not the very first thing that we do, to take care of ourselves and our health.
It's not always pretty, and when we first start brushing more toothpaste ended up on our shirts than on our teeth, but we did it.
We were taught the essentials of oral hygiene at a very young age. We might have been running around in pull-ups, but we were brushing our teeth too.
We did it twice a day (hopefully), and we learned all the little tricks.
Say the alphabet twice while you brush, so you know you've brushed long enough.
Divide your mouth into four sections to be sure you hit every tooth in your mouth.
Eventually, we learn about flossing and mouthwash.
However, with all we learn, there seems to be one thing that many people are still unaware of, even as adults.
How hard are we supposed to brush our teeth?
Can we brush too hard, or should you put as much "elbow grease" into cleaning your teeth as you do with everything else?
Should we treat our smiles like we do our cars and scrub as hard as we can until it sparkles?
Let's explore that question and more in the article below.
Table Of Contents
It turns out you absolutely can brush our teeth too hard.
We should not approach cleaning our teeth the same we approach cleaning anything else. Unlike scrubbing our bathroom floors with force, scrubbing our teeth with excess force will do damage.
In this case, the saying "killing with kindness" is actually very literal.
It might seem strange because our teeth are hard, but the gums that surround them are not.
It's important to clean along the line where your teeth meet your gums, but brushing it too hard or with a toothbrush that's too firm can do more harm than good.
This can wear away the thin top layer of your gum, causing more problems to arise.
One of the goals of brushing our teeth is to remove the plaque, which is the white or cream-colored sticky material on our teeth that will cause decay if it's not taken care of.
Some people take this so seriously, they even take a toothbrush to their workplace (which isn't a bad idea).
There's a common misconception that the harder you brush, the better your chances are of removing the plaque.
However, plaque is actually pretty soft, so it's not necessary to brush with excessive force or pressure. Brushing harder won't remove more plaque, it will just damage your gums.
Plaque is often confused with tartar which builds up when plaque sits for too long on your teeth.
If you don't brush properly or frequently enough, plaque can turn into tartar in about a week.
But, tartar can only be removed by a dentist, so there's still no reason to brush your teeth any harder.
Now that we know it's possible to brush our teeth too hard, how can do we know if we've been doing it?
Here are four signs to look out for to see if you've been brushing too hard all along:
Is stopping yourself from brushing too hard as easy as lightening up on the pressure when you're brushing? Yes and no.
Here are 3 actions you can take to ensure that you don't brush with too much power.
If you have any of the symptoms above that align with brushing your teeth too hard, don't worry. There's rarely anything that can't be fixed.
The first thing you need to do is follow the steps to keep yourself from brushing them too hard moving forward.
Prevention is always the best medicine.
But if damage has already been done, and your gums are receding or bleeding, or your teeth are sensitive in certain spots, you should visit your dentist.
Your dentist will evaluate the damage, and decide the course of action to get your mouth back in shape.
If you don't currently have a dentist, the dentists at Hylan Dental Care can fix you right above.
They have years of experience and expertise fixing and preventing many oral hygiene issues, and they can definitely help you with yours.