If you are a parent, reading the above title must have made you chuckle a little. I mean, is there such a thing as too much brushing when you probably have to remind your child to brush their teeth a dozen times every morning?
While it’s true that most kids don’t like (or remember) to brush their teeth, it is also true that some kids do it too often for their own sake. And yes, too much brushing can be harmful to developing teeth – we’ll tell you why in a bit. For now, are you familiar with the right brushing methods and techniques?
Is There A Proper Way to Brush Teeth?
Yes! According to kid’s dentists, a healthy oral care regime consists of the following protocols:
- Use of Slow, Deliberate Strokes When Brushing – Ensure your child brushes the entire fronts, tops and backs of their teeth, as well as the tongue, in firmly but calculated movements. Every part of each tooth should be covered.
- Brush for two straight minutes – A good and thorough cleaning of every tooth takes an average of two minutes. Hence, it is recommended that you time your child’s brushing session to ensure they last for exactly two minutes – no more or less as it would imply over or under brushing.
- Brushing twice a day – Just like adults, children should brush their teeth at least twice every day. This should ideally be every morning after having their breakfast and as the last thing before going to bed.
- Using the right toothbrush – When choosing a brush for your little one, get one specially designed for kids, or basically the one with the softest bristles. Normal hard-bristled toothbrushes can hurt developing gums and cause bleeding. Also, make sure to replace the brush after three months of use at the max.
Problems With Brushing Teeth Too Hard or Too Often
With the technicalities out of the way, we go back to where we started, with the question: Isn’t it much better for kids to brush too often than not to do it at all? The answer to that being; both are as bad as each other.
On one side, infrequent and inadequate brushing increases the risk of cavities, gingivitis and gum disease. Too much brushing, on the other hand also brings its own share of complications, which include:
- Increases Tooth Sensitivity – The enamel may be the strongest part of the body but it’s not bulletproof. Excessive brushing, or using a rough brush, can wear it down leading to heightened sensitivity to cold and hot foods.
- Causes Gum Sensitivity – If the stone-hard enamel can be worn out, the soft tissues that make up the gums are not safe. Overzealous and improper brushing can cause gum bleeding in certain spots which in turn recede and become more hyper-sensitive.
- Increases Nerve Sensitivity – When the gums are injured as mentioned above, the sensitive nerves under them become more exposed, which makes eating or drinking anything that’s hot or cold a painful nightmare.
How to Know When Your Child is Over-Brushing
One way to prevent your child brushing their teeth too much and potentially suffering the above effects is to track the frequency and duration of their brushing sessions. Everything held constant, they shouldn’t brush more than thrice a day, or 21 times a week. It is however recommended to consult a kid’s dentist for more specialized advice on the best routine for your kid.
Looking for an orthodontist in Garden Grove or Orange County? Contact us today for a consultation!