Chances are, you go above and beyond to make sure your smile is as healthy as it can possibly be. But, you may not know the dangers that lurk behind the most common daily dental habit. If you’re brushing too hard or using the wrong kind of toothpaste, the look and health of your smile can suffer. Read on for the surprising details and what you an do do to fix any damage that’s been done.
With so many different types of toothpaste on the market, including one that does it all can seem downright difficult. Most toothpastes use abrasive ingredients to remove stains. “The abrasives scratch away the stains on the tooth’s enamel, causing erosion,” says New York aesthetic dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS. When selecting a toothpaste, it’s important to pick one that is gentle, yet effective. It should contain fluoride, which prevents decay and protects against cavities, and be sulfate-free. “Sulfates, which are foaming agents, have been proven to create microscopic damage to the tissue that lines the inside of your mouth. They can also cause canker sores,” says Dr. Smigel.
You also need to take into consideration how hard you brush your teeth. “Some people make the mistake of brushing too hard in an attempt to feel like they have a clean mouth, which can lead to irritated gums and eroded tooth enamel,” says Dr. Smigel. Brushing in a back-and-forth sawing motion wears down the gums and exposes the roots of the teeth. Instead, brush with gentle pressure in a circular motion. Any gum damage and damage to your teeth can be fixed. “Gum recession can occur due to a variety of reasons, but trauma from brushing is a culprit,” says Dr. Smigel.