Tips from our dentists & hygienists: are you brushing too hard?

Our in-house expert dentist, Cathal Hayes, gives us his 5 best tips on how to brush better: 

Do you break a sweat in your daily oral hygiene efforts? To put it mildly, you shouldn’t! Your twice daily, two-minute tooth brushing routine (that’s right, a full 2 minutes, twice a day!) needs to be a finely skilled, thorough but sensitive endeavor. It is not an opportunity to make up for that missed gym class you signed up for but decided not to go to as it clashed with happy hour at your favorite bar!

Teeth are made up of a limited amount of hard tissue with the surrounding areas, your gums, made up of soft tissue. Both need to be brushed to keep them healthy but how do you do so in a manner that cleans and protects them over a lifetime?

Firstly, teeth whilst hard are not immune to wearing away if excessive force is placed on them on a daily basis. So, brushing too hard is both damaging to your teeth and gums and also unnecessary for maintaining good oral hygiene.

I recommend a medium bristled brush for most patients and a soft bristle for those who are already suffering from tooth wear for some reason or other. Manual or electric toothbrush is a personal preference. I love the electric ones as the smaller head allows you to get to the hard to reach places. But a normal, manual brush is fine as long as you put the effort in and don’t miss any spots.

Technique is key to tooth brushing. Avoid horizontal, back and forth scrubbing motions, and instead try and use a circular motion to you brushing. The aim is to sweep debris away from the gums where it accumulates, so always get right up to where you gum meets your tooth.

And don’t put too much force on the brush! A light grip on the tooth brush and less force than you use when writing with a pen is all that is needed.

Also consider when you are brushing! Acidic food and drink, like orange juice, softens the enamel of your tooth. Brushing after a glass of OJ means it is easier to do damage to your teeth. And this damage is irreversible! That’s the problem!

So, to summarize my top tips to avoid unnecessary tooth wear;

  •  Get the right toothbrush for you!
  •  Use Light force
  •  In a circular motion
  • Avoid acidic food and drink, 30 minutes before brushing
  • And always remember to visit your dentist and hygienist every 6 months as they will see clearly if your technique is correct or is any damage is being done!

Book your hygienist appointment with us to get you back on track!

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