It’s ironic that one of the most basic instruments of dental hygiene can also be considered, under certain circumstances, to be related to a condition commonly referred to as toothbrush disease. However, that is the case with our bristled friend, the toothbrush. It might be more accurate to say, in the hands of an overly aggressive or strenuous brusher, the toothbrush can cause real damage to teeth and gums.
What Is Toothbrush Disease?
Toothbrush disease or tooth abrasion is a condition caused by over brushing or brushing too vigorously to the point where enamel is removed from the teeth and aggressive brushing causes loss of gum tissue and gum recession. When gum tissue recedes, it opens the door for root decay to begin. Toothbrush disease is a precursor to gum disease which affects more than 64 million adults in the United States. Toothbrush disease is serious business mainly because so often, the people who have the condition are unaware of the damage they are causing their own teeth and gums.
1. Education and Awareness
The best way to prevent toothbrush disease is to educate yourself on your teeth and gums and increase your awareness of the best techniques for proper brushing and dental care. Consult with you dentist or hygienist and gently insist they go through a brief review with you. It’s especially important to know how much pressure you should apply when brushing.
2. Thoroughness Over Strenuousness
Many people operate under the misguided notion that if they brush harder, they can do a better and quicker job of brushing their teeth. However, plaque is a rather soft substance which does not require exertion but rather persistence to remove it from between the teeth which also requires floss or other devices for cleaning between the teeth. Thoroughness is the best way to approach the twice daily regimen of brushing teeth. Be methodical in your efforts to reach every part of your mouth when you brush.
3. Two to Three Minutes Twice a Day
For those people in the habit of brushing quickly, two to three minutes can seem like an eternity. But one of the best ways to fight toothbrush disease and insure a healthy smile for life is to reserve three minutes in the morning and three more at night (six minute amounts to one-tenth of one hour out of 24) for a gentle and thorough brushing of uppers and lowers, inside and out, front and back.
4. Don’t Overdo It
The most fastidious and diligent tooth-brushers are often the ones most guilty of causing tooth abrasion. This is due to over-exertion and their zeal for clean teeth. You wouldn’t scrub your face until it’s raw and bleeding, but believe it or not, many people do just that to their teeth and gums.
5. Choose Your Toothbrush Wisely
It’s a good idea to consider an alternative to old-school, hard bristle toothbrushes. Standard toothbrush contains nylon bristles that can do damage to delicate gum tissue and teeth enamel. The PeriClean is a smarter alternative with gentle rubber bristles that won’t damage fragile tooth enamel or gums.