Along with gum disease, brushing too hard is a leading cause of receding gums. You have to brush to make sure your teeth are clean, and you want to make sure you’re getting all the plaque removed, so you don’t want to brush too softly. So how do you know if you’re brushing too hard and might be damaging your gums?
Why You Don’t Have to Brush Hard
First, it’s important to understand that there’s no good reason to brush your teeth hard. The goal of toothbrushing is to remove plaque from your teeth. Plaque is very soft and can be removed easily from your teeth. It can even be removed without toothpaste, although toothpaste does help with cleaning and provides your teeth with valuable exposure to fluoride, which helps strengthen your enamel.
Other goals of brushing your teeth include whitening them or removing tartar–hardened plaque deposits. Although these might benefit from harder brushing, they’re not worth it if you damage your teeth and gums in the process. Your teeth and gums will be healthiest if you brush gently.
Bleeding Gums Are a Bad Sign
It’s not normal to have bleeding gums when you brush or floss, even if you have sensitive gums. If your gums bleed after you brush, it’s either because you have gum disease or you’re brushing too hard.
Schedule an appointment with a dentist or periodontist right away to make sure you don’t have gum disease. If you don’t then the problem is that you’re brushing too hard.
The Bristles Know How Hard You’re Brushing
Even if your gums aren’t bleeding, they still might be suffering if you’re brushing too hard. Another clue you can look at is the state of your toothbrush.
Toothbrush bristles should stay relatively straight as they’re getting worn down. If your toothbrush bristles are significantly angling or curving outward, then you’re probably brushing too hard. (Either that, or you’re chewing on your toothbrush. You’re not chewing on your toothbrush, are you? Because you shouldn’t do that, unless you’re using a miswak.)
Get a Flexible Toothbrush
Your toothbrush isn’t solely to blame for receding gums, but it may not be helping.
Most toothbrushes these days are made from relatively hard plastic. This makes them durable and sturdy for reaching places in the back of your mouth, but, it also allows them to deliver a lot of force to the tooth surface–too much force.
You can fix this problem by buying a toothbrush that has a soft rubber construction, such as this one. This will keep you from putting too much force on the surface of your teeth and gums and can help you avoid receding gums.
Some people believe that an electric toothbrush is more likely to lead to receding gums. That’s not true. In fact, it can help by keeping you from push too hard against your teeth. Many are designed to warn you if you’re pushing too hard. And some also have soft, flexible designs intended to help people with sensitive gums.
Either choice is good for avoiding putting too much pressure on your teeth and gums.
Is It Too Late for Your Gums?
Keeping your gums healthy is the best way to have a beautiful, healthy smile. But what if you’ve already experienced receding gums? We can restore your gums to a youthful, healthy, attractive position.