Dental Hygienetooth brushes in a cup

If the bristles on your toothbrush are bent back and frayed outward, it could be a sign that you are brushing too hard. When it comes to brushing your teeth, harder is not better. While you might think you are applying a healthy amount of pressure to brush off the coffee, wine, or tea you had that day, you could be doing more harm than good. Applying too much pressure when brushing your teeth could potentially cause your gums to recede. Gum recession caused by brushing too hard may not be detectable to the naked eye because it can happen gradually. However, the bent bristles on your toothbrush could be a good early warning sign.

Receding gums is when the gum tissue surrounding the tooth begins to pull away from the tooth. When gums recede, it results in a loss of attachment around the tooth, and if it progresses it can potentially lead to tooth mobility. Gum recession also exposes the tooth’s root, which is not protected by enamel. These areas are often unsightly due to the darker brown or yellow appearance and tend to trap food easier. They are also more prone to temperature sensitivity and decay.

A good technique to use while brushing your teeth is to hold your toothbrush with just your thumb and index finger and use gentle, circular motions while brushing around the gumline. This can help prevent you from applying harsh pressure on the gums. Electric toothbrushes are also highly recommended and many of them have indicators to let you know when you are applying too much force.

If you have any questions or concerns about your gum health, be sure to ask your hygienist or Dr. Moseley at your next appointment.