Just as with anything else, over-enthusiastic tooth brushing can be too much of a good thing. This relates specifically to the intensity with which you brush your teeth. You can brush too hard! If you do, your gums will develop a condition known as recession due to tooth brush abrasion. This is often coupled with another condition known as attrition due to tooth brush abrasion. If you brush your teeth too fiercely, the gum tissue around them will recede. When your gums have receded, the roots of your teeth are then partially exposed. The surfaces of your roots are made of a material called cementum that is much softer than the enamel covering of your teeth. Over-brushing exposed cementum will cause indentations in your roots called "ledging" that will extend from where your enamel ends to where your gum tissue begins. In other words, IF YOU BRUSH TOO HARD, YOUR GUMS WILL RECEDE AND YOUR SUBSEQUENTLY EXPOSED ROOTS WILL HAVE LEDGES IN THEM! This recession and ledging can prime your teeth for temperature sensitivity and gumline decay.
Overzealous brushing can cause abrasion and recession like this.
There are steps you can take to avoid this situation. First, remember that the best way to describe the proper force with which to brush is "thorough, not hard"! You should not think that your gums need to feel sore after you have brushed for you to have done a good job. This is precisely wrong! Remember, you are trying to clean your teeth and gums, not erase them. Always use a soft bristle brush, never a medium or a hard. The latter two bristle grades are good for floors and shoes, but not your mouth. Medium and hard bristles should not be put on tooth brushes. Manufacturers only offer them because they know they can sell them. Tooth brush abrasion can still occur when using a soft brush, but not as readily as with the other two grades. You will always receive a soft bristle brush when you have your teeth cleaned here at the office. If you have any more questions about tooth brushing, please ask us.
TO AVOID PROBLEMS WITH TOOTH BRUSH ABRASION, ALWAYS USE A SOFT BRUSH
AND DO SO IN A MANNER THAT IS THOROUGH, NOT HARD!