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Surbiton Dental 395 Ewell Road Surbiton Surrey KT6 7DG

Brushing too hard

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard?

7 July 2020

Toothbrush damage is known in the trade as toothbrush abrasion and is the damage to teeth and gums that results from the use of excessive force in brushing, usually using a hard toothbrush.

In a way this is the condition of people who care too much. Somehow they get to think that unless they really go at it with gusto they won’t do a good job. This is a kind of over-zealous enthusiasm where the excess energy actually becomes destructive. The idea of always striving to do better, coming from childhood experiences of “you can do better than that!” is at the root of the problem.

The genuine desire to do the best is pushed over the top to become over-zealousness.

Some people with dental fears may use excessive force in brushing as a way of avoiding dental care delivered by a dental professional, and to cope with feelings of guilt and anxiety over their perceived “neglect”.

What is the problem?

The problem is the way in which a person thinks about what is required in brushing. Somehow people form the idea that the job is very difficult and great effort is required. This is not true at all. Plaque is a very soft material, which builds up on the teeth. It is very soft and very easy to remove.

The problem is therefore very simply a wrong notion or idea which leads to an ‘aggressive’ approach to cleaning, resulting in damage to tooth and gum tissues.

How does it affect the teeth?

Toothbrush abrasion affects both teeth and gums. Often the earliest sign of the problem is what people describe as a ‘little ledge’ in the tooth at the very margin of the gum. The person often feels this with a fingernail and sometimes there is an ‘electric shock sensation’ when the area is touched with the fingernail or a toothbrush bristle. Very often there are no shocking symptoms although sensitivity to cold is a quite common feature.

As the damage progresses it becomes more and more noticeable, with the gum tissue receding back causing the tooth to look longer as more of its root surface is exposed. The damage to the tooth eventually manifests as a v-shaped notch at the gum margin which increases over time both in width and depth.

Please take a look at our hygienist page on our website https://www.surbitondental.co.uk/treatment/dental-hygiene/

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