In a similar way to the mysophobic who washes their hands too much and thus leaves them, ironically, even more vulnerable to germs, you can actually do damage to your teeth by brushing too often.
Too much brushing leads to the erosion of tooth enamel, the protective outer layer of the tooth.
While tooth enamel is strong (stronger than bone, in fact), it’s still at risk not only to the acids and bacteria in plaque, but to the relentless onslaught of an overly enthusiastic brushing schedule.
What Happens After Enamel Erosion?
Underneath the tooth enamel lies the dentin – the bony part of the tooth. When the acids in plaque make their way past the enamel, they begin to eat at the dentin.
Eventually, plaque will eat a little hole away in the dentin – now you officially have a cavity. This is the part of the tooth decay process that gets painful.
The only real solution to this problem is a dental filling.
Teeth Whitening Strips Can Also Damage the Teeth
The problem here stems from the teeth-whitening ingredient in these products: bleach.
This can cause damage to the dentin, which contains high amounts of protein like collagen. Bleaching products eat away at protein, which is why many who have used these products have noticed resulting stabs of tooth pain over the next few days.
How To Brush Your Teeth
Generally speaking, brushing your teeth once in the morning and once at night is the ideal oral hygiene plan.
Truthfully, how many of us can say we follow this plan consistently? How many of us miss a day or two between brushing?
A lot of us.
Another problem is that, when days of brushing are missed, many try to overcompensate by brushing too hard and for too long. This leads to the erosion of tooth enamel described above.
Follow this brushing schedule and you’ll be golden:
- Brush twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, for two minutes each time. If you need to, set a timer on your phone.
- Hold the toothbrush at 45 degrees and start by brushing the inner and outer surfaces of the teeth, paying attention to reach the areas in the back. Brush the width of each tooth gently in a back-and-forth motion.
- Next, brush all of the chewing surface areas.
- You can get between the teeth by holding your toothbrush vertically and brushing up and down. This is required to get all of the plaque and food particles out from between your teeth.
- Brush gently in a circular motion along the gumline. This removes plaque that can hang out around there which, if left on, can cause periodontal (gum) disease over time.
- End by brushing your tongue. Yes, that means the back of your tongue as well, near the back of your throat. Not only is this good for basic hygiene reasons, it also prevents bad breath.
Also, be sure to see your local dentist regularly for a routine dental exam.