You may have heard that brushing your teeth after lunch or a sugary snack isn’t a bad idea. If you’ve ever wondered how often is too often to brush, you are not alone; our patients ask this all the time!
The simple answer is, there is no such thing as brushing too often, unless you are brushing incorrectly! Incorrect brushing has to do with the strength at which you are brushing and the type of toothbrush you purchase. These factors can damage your teeth and gums, so it is always a good practice to pick up the right toothbrush and method for your mouth.
Let’s take a deeper look at how bristles and brush practices come into play.
Bristle Quality Changes Over Time
When you first purchase your toothbrush, the bristles are fresh and perfectly rounded nylon cylinders. Generally, bristles have smooth corners to reduce irritation when coming into contact with your dentin and enamel.
With more use, the smooth corners become jagged, causing more harm than good to your teeth. This wear is normal, which is why dentists recommend replacing your brush every 3-6 months, or when the bristles begin to show signs of wear.
Brushing your teeth with damaged bristles twice a day can be more detrimental than you think!
Not All Brushes are Created Equal
There is a variety of toothbrushes out there with soft, medium, and hard bristles. Make sure to purchase a soft bristle brush where the tips of the bristles are rounded.
Using the wrong type of brush can lead to gum, dentin, and enamel damage—which is why it is important to inspect your brush before purchasing! If you are uncertain about what type of brush suits your teeth and gums, ask your dentist for a recommendation.
It is easy to brush your teeth incorrectly, especially if you are in a rush! Vigorously brushing as if you are scrubbing isn’t recommended. In fact, it is better to consider your brush as a massager for your teeth. Start at your gum line and gently create small circular motions. While hitting the front of your teeth, hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line. For chewing surfaces, use a direct angle and while cleaning the backs of your teeth, practice back and forth strokes.
The time at which you brush should also be a factor! It is always beneficial to clean your mouth after you eat. However, wait 30 minutes! When we eat, the pH levels in our mouths change and generally create a more acidic environment. Brushing when our mouths are in an acidic state can harm our enamel, but after about 30 minutes, our levels should even out!
Remember, brush twice daily for two minutes each. As long as you adopt these practices, your smile will remain clean and healthy.