1 Thing You Should Quit Doing While Brushing Your Teeth

A dentist has revealed one thing you need to stop doing while brushing your teeth, because it does more harm than good. We only have one set of teeth, so practising good oral hygiene is really important to maintain that pearly white smile.

Dr. Nicole Mackie, a dentist in Nevada, says you need to stop brushing your teeth too hard, because it doesn’t make your teeth cleaner and can actually cause more problems.

“Some patients tend to believe ‘the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth’. But the truth is that overzealous brushing can damage the teeth and gums, leading to long-term dental issues,” she told The Focus.

“It’s not like like hand-washing dishes, where the harder you scrub, the cleaner they become – The harder you brush the more issues you can create.”

Aggressive and rough brushing wears down the teeth’s protective layer of enamel, making them more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity. Plus, it can also irritate the gums, causing a receding gumline and other periodontal issues.

Periodontal disease is the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth, the CDC explains. In the early stages, this is called gingivitis, but in its most serous form, periodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth and teeth can fall out.

How to know if you’re brushing too hard.

Mackie said you’ll know if you’re brushing too hard if your gums are often sensitive, swollen, or bleed easily. Other “red flags” include the gumline beginning to recede and increased sensitivity, especially when enjoying hot or cold foods.

You can also tell if you’re brushing too forcefully by the way your toothbrush looks.

“If your toothbrush looks it just woke up from a wild night of partying with its bristles frayed and fanned out after just a few weeks of use, that’s a clear sign!” she added.

Close up of dentist holding angled mirror and hook while examining patient. Young woman is with mouth open getting dental checkup in hospital.

How to use your toothbrush correctly

The recommended pressure to apply while brushing depends on the kind of toothbrush you use. Electric toothbrushes do all the work for you, so you shouldn’t be applying any force at all. The dentist advises holding the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline and “letting it do its thing”.

With manual toothbrushes, Mackie recommends using a soft-bristled brush and applying “delicate pressure”. “Brushing is not about exerting brute force but maintaining consistency and coverage,” she said.

MedlinePlus reveals you should brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. The brush head should have medium to soft, rounded bristles and not be too large for your mouth, letting you reach every surface easily.

The toothpaste you use should contain fluoride, a natural mineral that helps reduce your risk of cavities, and not be too abrasive. You should also floss gently at least once a day and see a dentist at least every six months.

Eating well-balanced meals will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy too, and you must avoid snacking on sticky or sugary foods in between meals, as well as foods high in carbohydrates like potato chips. If you do snack, brush your teeth afterwards.