Reckless brushing leads to pain when you drink hot and cold liquids. You are not alone. Many people do this. If you run into the store and choose any kind of toothbrush and mash it down by sawing at your teeth, you could end up in the dental chair. Your teeth may hurt. You probably don’t have a cavity. You are a victim of your own hand in the form of Toothbrush Abrasion.
Let’s start with why you have done this to yourself. You may be a perfectionist. A type “A” personality. You think if you use intense strength and use your toothbrush like a saw on your teeth that your teeth will be beautiful, sexy and whiter. Instead, you realize to your horror, that your gums are fading away. The roots start showing. Your teeth will start looking longer in some areas and not in others. The bigger problem is that they become sensitive every time you drink a cold drink or hot soup.
- Brushing at a weird angle.(45 degrees would be best)
- Using a sawing motion with intense pressure.
- The use of a medium or hard toothbrush (soft is the best)
- Choosing to use a highly abrasive toothpaste instead of smooth and creamy.
Clues to tell if you have toothbrush abrasion:
- The bristles of your toothbrush go all kinds of directions instead of straight up in a very short time after purchase.
- Your gums are lower or higher in some areas than others.
- Your teeth become sensitive along the lower part of the tooth.
How to help sensitivity caused by Toothbrush Abrasion:
- A soft toothbrush or an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush may be more difficult for you to squash down.
- A non abrasive toothpaste and/or sensitivity protection toothpaste
- Fluoride rinses such as ACT. The fluoride fills the tubules and blocks the nerve impulse from going to the center of the tooth. (Use a sodium fluoride rinse instead of acidulated fluoride if you have white dental work such as crowns and composite fillings. Acidulated fluoride may cause the surface of the dental work to become etched and collect stain more often)
- Sensitivity preventing toothpastes such as Sensodyne
- Possibly periodontal surgery where they take a patch of tissue from elsewhere in the mouth and place it over the area where the gums have receded.
- A filling might be placed over the area.
A longer explanation of toothbrush abrasion:
The gum is brushed so hard it exposes the root.The upper part of the tooth is covered with enamel. The gum protects the lower part of the tooth and the surface is covered with cementum rather than enamel. Enamel is the hardest surface in the body. When people have died, many times the teeth will survive the decomposition process because they are so hard and the body can be identified through dental records. Cementum (which covers the root) isn’t as hard as enamel. It doesn’t need to be because the gums cover the tooth. First you brush the gums away. Then you brush the cementum away and are down to nerves. These nerve tubes go to the center of the tooth and are called dentinal tubules. Once the gum around the tooth and cementum is gone, the tooth may start feeling sensitive more often. Cold winter wind, hot soup and cold drinks can make you feel like you have a cavity.
Don’t brush so hard and you won’t have so much pain.
If you would like more information: Both Dr. Knutsen, of Brown Deer, and the two Dr. Frantals, of Kenosha have the same information on their websites about Toothbrush abrasion. An article on how to get rid of tooth sensitivity can be found at squidoo.com.