Brushing and Enamel Erosion
So I’m going to tell you something that you may not have ever heard coming from a dentist before: It’s possible to brush your teeth too often! Yes, you read that right. We see patients in our office who are overly zealous about brushing their teeth and have actually started to erode their enamel.
Enamel erosion can contribute to gum disease when plaque buildup at the base of the tooth causes the tooth to move away from the gumline. This creates and environment that is prime for the development of gingivitis.
So back to brushing your teeth. I’m not going to tell you it’s not important and crucial to your overall dental health. It is! But brushing immediately after a meal, as most of us have been taught since childhood, can damage enamel because saliva produces an acidic substance to help you begin the digestive process when you eat. Ideally, you should brush your teeth about 30 minutes after meals so that the acid has had a chance to neutralize. We encourage our patients to brush thoroughly but gently with soft-bristle brushes or electric toothbrushes instead of scrubbing away with hard bristles – also a practice that can contribute to enamel erosion. Brushing your teeth six or seven times a day can also lead to potential problems down the road. If you think you’re brushing too much, talk to your dentist. Practicing good oral hygiene today can prevent costly visits to the gum doctors tomorrow!