Brushing too much?

You may be reading this because you are worried that you are brushing your teeth too much.  Is that even possible?  Let me tell you my opinion.  As a dental professional, I become concerned when I see abrasion, which is a mechanical rubbing away, of your enamel and dentin.  Enamel is the outer layer of your teeth and dentin is an inner layer that is softer than enamel.  Scrubbing your teeth or using anything other than a soft-bristled toothbrush can contribute to the problem.  Abrasive toothpastes, including "Tartar Control" and a vast majority of "Whitening" toothpastes also can gradually damage your teeth.  Brushing after every meal is perfectly fine, just be sure that your choose your toothbrush and toothpaste carefully.

"Why are you brushing so much?" is the question I would ask after someone asks if they are brushing excessively.  Wanting to avoid going to the dentist due to cost or anxiety are the most common reasons people brush too much.  Likewise, when people feel something painful between their teeth, they will floss the dickens out of the area.  It reminds me of someone getting lots of car washes, hoping it will make that weird engine noise will go away.  The warnings on sensitive toothpastes to "do not use more than two weeks before seeing a dentist" is good advice.  It's not harmful to use sensitive toothpaste long term. However, if you are using it to avoid seeking care, a whole bathtub of it will not make your pain go away.  We can relieve whatever pain you are trying to solve with your toothbrush and floss.

Dr. Krista Geisler is the owner an dentist of Life Smiles Family Dentistry in Plymouth, MN.  You can find her on Google+ and Facebook.  Over the past 6.5 years, her business is assisting people with their healthy smile for a lifetime.