The Bad Habit: Aggressive Brushing

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The damage it can cause it’s estimated that two out of three people apply too much pressure when brushing, pushing back the gumline.

“As soon as the gums recede just one-eighth of an inch, the root—which is more prone to staining, sensitivity and cavities—becomes exposed,” says Dr. Goldstein.

Exposed roots can lead to sensitivity, which prompts many patients to brush and floss less because of the discomfort. As a result, plaque accumulates, contributing to cavities and further gum recession. But how do you know if you’re brushing too hard? “When you brush your teeth, you should be able to hear the bristles moving,” Dr. Smigel says. “If you can’t, you’re brushing too hard.” Dr. Goldstein adds, “If you could lightly glide a soft-point brush over your teeth to remove the plaque, that would be ideal. The less trauma you cause to your gum tissue the better.” 

If your teeth have shifted, orthodontics can help move them back into place. For teeth that have shifted slightly, your dentist may recommend Invisalign. Although Invisalign is best for those who require only minor adjustment, it does have applications for more severe problems. For concerns like tooth height and teeth that are severely rotated or tipped, traditional braces are a better solution. Unlike in the past, smaller or clear porcelain brackets can be used. Another option is lingual braces, which are placed on the inside of teeth rather than the front of the teeth. Ceramic braces, as opposed to metal ones, have generally been the preferred option.

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