Have you noticed that your teeth have become more sensitive or painful when eating hot, cold, sour or sweet foods? If so, there could be several reasons why. One of those reasons could be toothbrush abrasion.

It’s commonly thought that the technique you use when brushing your teeth isn’t all that important, as long as your using fluoride toothpaste and brushing regularly for the appropriate amount of time. However, this isn’t actually the case. Improper brushing techniques can produce harmful side effects on your dental health, including toothbrush abrasion. But what is toothbrush abrasion, and what does it mean for the future of your dental health?

In today’s post, we discuss what toothbrush abrasion is and what causes it.

Toothbrush Abrasion

Brushing is the best thing you can do when it comes to personal teeth cleaning, but did you know that using improper brushing techniques can cause more harm than good? If you don’t brush properly, you could end up with toothbrush abrasion.

Toothbrush abrasion is when there is a pocket or groove in the area where the tooth and gum meet. It commonly happens near the gum line, and sometimes it’s even possible to feel the groove with your tongue! In the most basic terms, toothbrush abrasion is essentially tooth surface wear. If it gets bad enough, dentin (the sensitive layer underneath the enamel) can be exposed, which is why abrasion can cause increased tooth pain or sensitivity.

Causes Of Toothbrush Abrasion

As the name suggests, toothbrush abrasion is caused by, well, brushing your teeth. But if you’re brushing your teeth properly, you’re not at risk. It’s improper brushing techniques and hard-bristled toothbrushes that are the main culprit for toothbrush abrasion.

Type Of Toothbrush

Did you know that there are different types of toothbrushes you can purchase at the drug store? Many people don’t know this and assume all toothbrushes are basically the same thing. But, next time you walk down the toothbrush aisle, take a look at the top of the packaging. It will display one of three words: soft, medium, or hard. These words refer to the firmness of the brushes bristles.

Folks who prefer firm bristles probably don’t know this, but they are more likely to suffer from toothbrush abrasion than people who use soft bristles. With a hard-bristled toothbrush, over time, the bristles can roughen the tooth surface to form slight depressions on the surface.

Improper Brushing Techniques

It’s reasonable to think that the more teeth cleaning you do, and the harder you brush, the healthier your teeth will be. However, that is clearly not the case. When brushing your teeth, you’re supposed to be brushing, not grinding them down. Brushing too frequently (more than two or three times per day) or too hard is a major cause of toothbrush abrasion.

Other causes of toothbrush abrasion include:

  • Increased frequency of brushing.
  • Too much pressure applied with brushing.
  • Using hard bristled toothbrushes.
  • Using abrasive toothpaste.
  • Repeated rubbing with external materials like oral jewelry, teeth grinding or a misaligned bite.

Treatment Options

If your dentist notices you have toothbrush abrasion at your next teeth cleaning appointment, you’re likely going to wonder if there is any treatment you can do to fix the problem. Unfortunately, tooth enamel doesn’t grow back; once toothbrush abrasion happens, it can’t be reversed. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing that can be done to ease your pain.

Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the damage, and the less damage you have, the less treatment you’ll need. For mild abrasions with slight sensitivity, you can treat it at home by using soft-bristled toothbrushes with toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. Moderate abrasions require desensitizing agents to be applied to the affected areas by your dentist, in addition to switching to a soft toothbrush and sensitive toothpaste. Your dentist can treat the most severe abrasion. Essentially, dentists will fill in the grooves to cover the exposed dentin that was previously protected by enamel.

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