When it comes to your dental health, you’re probably taking into account all of the usual recommendations: You’re brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and staying away from any food or drinks that may be too harsh on your teeth and gums. But did you know that there’s something that even some of the most diligent people may be doing wrong with their teeth habits? They could be brushing them too hard.
What are health problems that arise from brushing your teeth too hard?
You might think that furiously cleaning the surface of your teeth makes them healthier, but that’s not the case! Instead, you could actually be doing some long-term damage. If you aren’t careful with the fragile surfaces of your teeth and gums, you could end up with gum recession, bleeding gums, plaque buildup, worn enamel, tooth sensitivity, tooth erosion, and even gum disease.
In other words, all of that work you’re doing for good dental hygiene could actually have the opposite effect if you’re pushing down too hard!
How should you brush your teeth instead?
If you’re worried you may be permanently damaging your teeth or gums forever, don’t stress! There are a few surefire steps you can take to ensure you’re practicing good dental hygiene while not going overboard.
First and foremost, slow yourself down, both in terms of how long you’re brushing (as in, for a full two minutes!) and your cadence. Vigorously scrubbing your teeth won’t make them inherently “better,” and you may end up damaging your enamel and gums in the process. Use a gentle, steady hand to brush. It should never feel like you’re pressing down on your teeth or gums.
Second, be sure to angle your toothbrush at 45-degrees so that it seamlessly cleans under the gums without additional wear and tear. Choose a soft-bristled brush to use and replace it roughly four times per year. (It’ll have an American Dental Association seal if it fits the bill!)
Regardless, make sure to take your time when it comes to brushing your teeth. All of the components of your mouth are delicate, and the more care you take during your dental routine, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.