Dental Tips Blog


How Your Toothbrush Could Damage Your Smile

Soda, candy, grinding your teeth. You’re probably familiar with a lot of these ‘bad guys’ when it comes to tooth health. You also know that you should brush and floss regularly to keep your smile healthy. But it’s possible that your attempts to brush well could backfire.

Effects of Rough Brushing on Teeth

A toothbrush seems harmless enough, but add heavy pressure over a long period of time, and the bristles can wear down tooth enamel. This easily happens when you’re using a toothbrush that’s too hard.

You could also abrade your teeth if you roughly scrub back-and-forth for years on end.

Are You Causing Gum Recession?

It’s not just your teeth that suffer from vigorous brushing. Your gums are very sensitive and will quickly shrink away from months of rubbing at them with rough toothbrush bristles. Gum recession can be caused by anything from genetics to crowns to gum disease, but it will definitely get worse if you chafe your gums with over-zealous brushing.

How to Lighten Up

So what’s the right way to brush your teeth? Start by selecting a brush labeled “soft.” This means that the bristles will be more flexible and gentle. Less is more when it comes to cleaning your teeth.

A tight grip while brushing is a tricky habit to break. Try these tips:

  • Hold the toothbrush between only the index finger and thumb instead of your fist
  • Switch to your non-dominant hand
  • Use a powered toothbrush with an indicator so that you know when you’re brushing too hard

Ask your dentist to look for signs on your teeth and gums that your brushing is a little too rough.

Posted on behalf of:
Dona W. Prince, DDS
4220 Sergeant Rd #100
Sioux City, IA 51106
(712) 274-2228


How to Brush with Braces

Braces might not seem like a lot of fun while you’re wearing them, but the results make it worth the effort!

Why It’s Important

Your braces can do you just as much harm as good if you don’t keep them clean. The bacteria in dental plaque releases acids that cause tooth enamel to demineralize. The plaque that stays trapped around brackets and under wires will eventually create demineralized white “spots” on your teeth.

When the braces come off, you could have a “ring” image of where your brackets were!

Additionally, the plaque buildup can easily irritate gum tissue. The gums can become so inflamed and puffy that they look as if they’re growing over your braces.

Proper brushing to remove dental plaque will keep these problems at bay.

Technique Matters!

You need to keep in mind that your teeth are not one dimensional. There’s more that needs to be brushed than just the front part that shows in your smile. Plus, braces add a few extra surfaces to work around.

Short and rapid, yet gentle brush strokes are most effective. “Jiggling” the toothbrush bristles is ideal for loosening debris. When cleaning your teeth and braces, you should target the following areas by angling the brush:

  • Along the gum line
  • From above the brackets
  • From underneath the brackets
  • Directly over the brackets
  • Over all chewing surfaces

Spend at least 2 minutes brushing each time. When you’re in braces, you should ideally brush at least 3 times a day.

Visit your dentist for regular checkups. Your teeth still need examinations, cleanings, and x-rays even during orthodontic treatment.  At each visit, your dentist will give you recommendations for keeping your braces and teeth as healthy as possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Dream Dentist
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 726-2699


Is Your Child Brushing Properly?

Proper brushing is the most important thing you do for your teeth at home. Helping your child get their mouth off to a healthy start is important for the future of their smile. One of the ways we do this is by making sure our children are brushing their teeth the right way. Here are a few things to check for to know if they’re doing fine on their own or need a little help.

Do You See Plaque?

Plaque is usually white, which means it blends in with the tooth. Scratching the tooth with your fingernail can be a good indicator to see if any of the fuzzy biofilm is still present on their teeth. Pay close attention to areas along the gums (and inside of the back teeth.) 

Gum Health

If their gums are puffy or bleed during brushing, they’re not being cleaned well enough. Brushing the gumlines will keep them healthy and remove plaque from congregating along the edges. It may take two weeks of gentle brushing and flossing before gingivitis goes away.

Time Matters

Everyone should brush their teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day. Most of us only spend 20-30 seconds! Set up a timer, clock, or radio (to brush to a song) in the bathroom to ensure that your child is brushing long enough.

Following up behind your child to brush is never a problem. As long as you’re helping them once a day, that is usually all that is needed. Encourage their independence the rest of the time, as they brush on their own. As their dexterity and dedication improve, you will find that they need less supervision. Remember to make sure they are flossing once a day as well so that they do not develop cavities between teeth. At their 6-month dental checkups your dentist or hygienist will assess how they are doing and offer tips if needed.

Posted on behalf of:
Family & Cosmetic Dental Care
2627 Peachtree Pkwy #440
Suwanee, GA 30024
(770) 888-3384


Are You Over-Brushing?

You’ve been told to brush your teeth frequently, but did you know that it could actually damage your teeth? 

Scrubbing too hard is abrasive to your enamel.

Some dentists describe scrubbing back and forth to a saw going back and forth on the enamel. When you’re applying too much pressure or using a very firm bristled toothbrush, even strong tooth enamel can begin to wear away. This typically appears as notches in the enamel along the gumlines. 

Gum recession can be a result.

Gum tissue is even more sensitive than tooth enamel. Scrubbing the gums can cause them to recede down the side of the tooth, exposing the root. Gum recession is irreversible without surgical intervention, and if severe enough it can cause loss of the tooth. 

Soft is better.

A stiff bristled toothbrush or a rigid style electric brush can make abrasion and gum recession even worse. Always choose a soft-bristled brush that allows bristles to conform to the tooth surface without constant firm pressure. Make short strokes with the bristles angled toward the gumlines, focusing on just one or two teeth at a time. 

It’s still a bad thing to skip out on brushing, so make sure you’re brushing your teeth at least twice each day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, just not placing too much pressure against the teeth in the process. During your routine dental check-up your dentist can let you know if you’ve been brushing too hard. Early intervention is the best way to prevent irreversible damage and keep your smile it’s healthiest. Be sure to schedule dental preventive visits at least every 6 months.

Posted on behalf of Find Local Dentists


5 Tips for Better Brushing in 2014

As the year ends and the new one begins, it is traditional to want to start fresh and renew good habits.  And that includes proper teeth brushing.   Combined with routine dental exams and cleanings, good brushing habits can greatly reduce the incidence of tooth decay and gum disease.

We’ve come up with a list of five easy tips for getting the most out of your tooth brush:

1. Use the right toothbrush. Most dentists recommend a soft bristled brush and one that fits comfortably in the mouth and is not too big or too small. Consider a mechanical brush if you have issues with not brushing long or thoroughly enough.

2.  Use the proper technique. Use a gentle circular motion, being sure to brush the surface of every tooth and every side of every tooth in your mouth. Brush gently along the gum line, using a 45 degree angle, and be sure not to brush too abrasively as it could injure gums or cause them to recede.

3. Brush for at least two minutes. If you aren’t sure how long this is, set a timer, a stop watch or an egg timer, to track the time.

4. Brush at least twice a day. If food is allowed to sit on teeth for too long, the bacteria can start to eat away at the enamel and cause tartar build-up or decay. Wait about a half hour after eating to brush to give saliva a chance to neutralize the bacteria, and then brush for two minutes, gently. Three times a day is even better.

5. Floss, brush, wash. Try to get in the habit of flossing at least once a day, followed by brushing and then mouthwash. Flossing loosens the particles that get caught between teeth and the fluoride in the toothpaste and mouth wash can have a chance to settle into tiny crevices and help build and restore enamel.

If you are in doubt about your brushing techniques or the products or tools that you use, consult your dentist or dental hygienist. He or she is usually more than happy to make recommendations as to what might be best for you.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Scott Merritt, BridgeMill Dentistry


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