Monday, January 2, 2012

Do I brush too hard?

Some patients will tell me that they are noticing little 
grooves at the base of there teeth, right by the gums.

They wonder what they are, and if anything can be done to prevent
them from getting worse and/or to stop them from happening on their other teeth?

Here is what is going on. 

The white stuff that covers your teeth is called enamel.
The enamel only goes as far as the gums however.
If you start to feel  a little groove at the base of your teeth
or start to see a band of discoloration both of these may be 
due to something called "Gum Recession".

As your gums start to recede the root structure of your teeth 
starts to be uncovered.
The root structure of your tooth is much more sensitive  to 
hots and colds, is much softer and more prone to cavities, and
has a much darker color then the enamel.

The number one cause of this is brushing too hard, too long, and/or too often.

Nothing can be done to fix what has happened. 
Fillings can be placed over the effected area to cover it up
but the gums will never grow back up to the enamel line.

To stop this from happening in the future I recommend  using the softest toothbrush
you can find, the mildest toothpaste you can find, and making sure that you 
use very light pressure as you brush.

These things will aid in keeping your gums as healthy as possible without beating them up too bad.

Sometimes this gum recession is simply due to genetics and there is nothing
that can be done about this. In those instances the same steps should be 
used to slow the progress on the recession for as long as possible.

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