Toothbrush Abrasion

As a dentist it is my moral and ethical obligation to tell my patients to brush their teeth. It is always a pleasure to see patients who take good care of their teeth. It is especially gratifying when we see a patient whose home care was far from sterling, but has gotten on the wagon and started brushing regularly. The problem is that some people get too much of a good thing. By being over-zealous with the toothbrush, one can damage their teeth and gums. We used to be taught to brush as hard as we could. That is reminiscent of the good old days when the bristles were made of natural materials. Once these bristles came in contact with saliva, they would soften, thus, more force could be applied without causing damage. Now the bristles are made of nylon which doesn’t soften when moistened.Toothbrush Abrasion Effects Therefore, vigorous scrubbing with a toothbrush can wear away gums and tooth. The gums will first recede due to the abrasion which can cause tooth sensitivity at the exposed root. Next, since the dentin (inner layer of the tooth) is much softer than enamel and it is now exposed to the brush because of the receded gums, it will wear away in a saucer like fashion at the gum line. This will require a filling to correct the damage. The better thing is prevention. Don’t overdo it on the force placed on a toothbrush. Plaque is not that difficult to remove with gentle brushing.