You’re probably brushing too hard

We have always been taught that we must brush our teeth thoroughly twice a day with good technique, using a quality toothbrush to keep them healthy. The logical extension of this is that the more you brush, the healthier your teeth will be, but unfortunately, it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

One measure of hardness is the ability of one material to scratch another. The softest mineral is called talc, with a hardness score of 1. The scale extends to the hardest material, diamond, with a score of 10. The hardness of tooth enamel is about five. Dietary or digestive acid will soften enamel, while fluoride is used to harden it.

We use our toothbrush to clean plaque – bacteria and their by-products in a film that covers our teeth and eat away tooth structure to cause decay or create an immune response and cause gum disease. Toothbrushing is best performed every 12 hours because, at this point, plaque is relatively easy to remove and, after this, will harden on the tooth to form calculus.

Calculus can’t be removed with a toothbrush. This is one of the most common reasons we regularly hear our patients justify using a hard-bristled toothbrush or scrub excessively vigorously to attempt to remove this hard build-up. The correct method for removing calculus is scaling – where each tooth is individually cleaned with a thin, non-abrasive metal tip vibrating 50,000 times per minute. This method, called ultrasonic scaling sends enough energy through the metal tip to break any of that calculus that’s built up of your teeth without damaging the enamel.

If you feel like your teeth aren’t sufficiently clean, rather than brushing harder, or using a harder toothbrush to clean your teeth, what you really need is more precision, a better instrument and a trained professional to look and see and feel where this build-up has occurred and be able to clean it accurately. Enamel is a non-renewable commodity that never grows back if damaged.

If you feel you require better dental advice, a clean, or getting back on track with your dental health, come and see the team at Tailored Teeth and get back to smiling.