Toothbrush Abrasion

What Is Toothbrush Abrasion?

Teeth can be damaged by brushing?

Everyone knows that teeth are hard. In fact, tooth enamel, the outermost layer of teeth, is the hardest substance in the human body. So it would seem like it would be hard for you to damage your teeth (aside from cavities or a traumatic injury/accident). However, one of the most common threats to tooth enamel is something you do every day. (And hopefully at least twice a day!) We’re talking about toothbrush abrasion.

Although tooth enamel is extremely strong, it is not impervious to damage. Every day, tooth enamel is under attack from bacteria that produce plaque and cause cavities, as well as from acidity in the food and beverages we eat and drink. Luckily, however, our body is also constantly rebuilding our enamel through a process called remineralization. Saliva carries the calcium absorbed from our diet to the tooth surface, where the enamel then absorbs it to replace lost material.

And yes, just as these factors can threaten your enamel, so can the simple act of brushing your teeth. As counterintuitive as it may seem, you may actually be doing too good of a job.

If you are brushing with too much force or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too stiff, you may literally be brushing away your enamel. It mostly happens on a microscopic level, so you won’t be able to notice a difference with the naked eye, at least not initially. However, the effects will be more apparent with time, and your dentist will likely notice the enamel loss. That’s one of the things we would look for during your regular checkup and cleaning. And we will, of course, be happy to discuss proper brushing techniques and toothbrush recommendations.

Like many things in life, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing!