Our Calgary Dentist Explains Why You Can Have Too Much Of A Good Thing.

Our Calgary Dentist Explains Why You Can Have Too Much Of A Good Thing.

Do you notice your toothbrush’s bristles becoming frayed quickly?  Have you noticed that your gums bleed after brushing your teeth?  Has your Calgary dentist told you that your gums are receding?  Are you experiencing tooth sensitivity?  According to our Calgary dentist, it may surprise you to know that all of these symptoms may be due to over-zealous toothbrushing.  Here are some tips to help you avoid the unintended consequences of over-brushing your teeth.


According to Dr. Dirk Thompson, our Calgary dentist, over-brushing your pearly whites refers to two factors.  First, it refers to how often your brush your teeth.  Although our Calgary dentist recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice per day or, if you can, after every meal, brushing your teeth compulsively or too many times per day can actually do more harm than good.  Over-brushing your teeth also refers to how you brush your teeth.  If you are brushing your teeth too often each day or too vigorously, our Calgary dentist warns that this may be putting your teeth and gums at risk for a variety of dental concerns, including for gum recession, tooth abrasion and even tooth sensitivity.


The term “dental abrasion” refers to the loss of your tooth structure caused by a foreign object’s mechanical forces.  One of the ways that dental abrasion can occur is from your toothbrush and brushing too vigorously or incorrectly.  This is why when you visit our Calgary dentist, in most cases, he will recommend that you use a soft bristled toothbrush.  If you are using a medium or hard bristled toothbrush, or even pressing too hard with your soft bristled toothbrush, you may actually be causing the first layer of your tooth, being its enamel, to wear down.  Our Calgary dentist warns that, after the enamel has been worn down, the next layers of your teeth, being the softer dentin and the cementum, can also become worn down. 

If you notice that you have any worn or shiny areas on your tooth, or yellow or brown spots on your tooth, particularly along the gumline, this may be a sign of tooth abrasion.  Our Calgary dentist also advises that notching, often in the shape of a “V” indent or a wedge, may also be a sign that you are suffering from dental abrasion.  If you notice any signs of dental abrasion, you should make an appointment with your Calgary dentist who can provide recommendations to help to ensure that there is no further damage done to your teeth and gums from dental abrasion.


If your toothbrush has caused dental ebrasion, you may notice that your teeth have become sensitive to temperature (hot and cold), as well as sweet or sour foods and beverages. You may also notice that even brushing your teeth causes you pain or discomfort.  

According to our Calgary dentist, this is because after the tooth enamel has worn away, the nerve endings in the dentin layer of your tooth may have become exposed or partially exposed, causing you to experience tooth sensitivity.  If you are experiencing any tooth sensitivity, this could be a sign of dental abrasion and you should see your Calgary dentist who can provide treatment recommendations to alleviate this sensitivity and/or prevent any further damage to your smile.


If you habitually brush your teeth vigorously using a toothbrush with hard or medium bristles, you or your Calgary dentist may notice that your gums are receding.  When your gums start to recede, the softer cementum portion of your tooth’s root is exposed, making it vulnerable to sensitivity, bacteria and decay.  Gum recession can become a serious dental issue, including leading to cavities and even tooth loss.  Therefore, if you notice that your gums are receding, you should always consult with your Calgary dentist regarding further treatment recommendations and advice.


If you are advised by your Calgary dentist that you are suffering from tooth abrasion caused by over-zealous toothbrushing, they may make recommendations which can help to prevent further complications, including cavities and tooth loss.  Some of these recommendations that your Calgary dentist may make include the following:

  • Placing a tooth coloured (composite) filling to cover up any exposed dentin;
  • If the damage is extensive, placing a veneer on your tooth;
  • Using a fluoride rinse to strengthen the surface of your teeth; and
  • Gum graft surgery to replace missing gum tissue, if your gum recession is severe.


On a positive note, our Calgary dentist advises that there are simple and effective steps that can be taken to prevent the unintended negative consequences of over-brushing. To help keep your smile healthy and happy, our Calgary dentist recommends the following:

  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush;
  • Replacing your toothbrush every three months or when you notice that the bristles are fraying;
  • Waiting at least one hour prior to brushing your teeth after eating or drinking;
  • Using a low abrasive toothpaste;
  • Choosing a toothbrush recommended by the Canadian Dental Association:
  • Brushing your teeth gently, not vigorously, for two minutes, and place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gums;
  • See your Calgary dentist and dental hygienist regularly for check-ups and cleanings; and
  • Trying to not chew your nails or use your teeth for doing things such as opening bottles.  Be aware that lip or tongue piercings can also rub against your teeth and cause your tooth enamel to wear down.

Remember that the goal of brushing your teeth is to remove food particles and bacteria from your teeth, mouth and gums.  To do so does not require that you brush your teeth too vigorously or too often.  Your smile will shine beautifully with proper brushing techniques, a consistent at home oral healthcare routine and regular visits to your Calgary dentist and hygienist for dentist check-ups and cleanings.  If you have any questions about your oral health, our Calgary dentist is here for you.  Please call our Calgary dental office if you have any questions and one of our friendly team members would be pleased to help you.  You may also make an appointment with our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, by calling 403.283.4252.  Together, we can help you take steps to ensure your smile lasts a lifetime!

This blog post written by our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., is for informational purposes only.  It is not to be taken or used as a substitute for dental, medical or other professional advice, treatment or diagnosis.  Always ask your dentist, physician or other healthcare professional for advice before altering your diet or healthcare routine.  Individual patient needs and oral healthcare concerns vary so please consult your dentist for more information about your specific dental health requirements.

Copyright 2021: Dirk A. Thompson Professional Corporation operating as Advance Your Health Dental.  Dr. Dirk A. Thompson, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


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