When it comes to cleaning dishes and bathroom tiles, we generally think that more force and harder scrubbing can achieve the best results. This doesn’t exactly apply too well to brushing, however.
The surfaces of our teeth are mainly comprised of enamel—a hard mineral substance that protects your teeth from decay, cavities, and pain. When we brush too hard or use products that are too abrasive on our teeth, we usually end up making things worse by eroding precious enamel and causing sensitive tissues to become exposed. Here are a few fast facts you should remember the next time you’re tempted to try out “detoxifying toothpaste” or tough bristles.
Abrasive Toothpaste Isn't Always Safe
Trendy influencers and commercials have always motivated us to achieve whiter and shinier teeth. After all, teeth are nicknamed “pearly whites” for a reason aren’t they? In order to help you achieve this goal, many have often marketed tough and abrasive toothpaste that can scrub away “toxins” or bacteria off the surfaces of your teeth.
It’s important to remember that healthy teeth don’t always look like spotless and white jewels we see on the internet or on TV. Genetic factors can affect the color of dentin (the second layer of teeth behind enamel) and in turn, result in slightly darker pigmentation. You shouldn’t worry about your teeth not having that “snowy” color promoted in magazines and on websites as long as you make regular visits to the dentist or practice good oral hygiene.
A popular selling point for abrasive toothpaste has always been their ability to basically bleach and rinse the surfaces of our teeth so they can develop a bright but colorless look. Though this might seem like a good reason to try them out, this can actually result in more harm than you think.
Taking aggressive action on precious enamel will only cause serious harm to teeth structure and expose sensitive gums. It won’t whiten teeth either since it’s actually dentin, not enamel, which gives teeth their healthy natural color. So far there aren’t any medically-tested or approved products that can penetrate enamel and reach dentin to achieve whiter teeth, so you might be better off using a gentler toothpaste instead of taking risks.
Hard Bristles Harm More Than They Clean
Medium and hard bristles are another popular product often marketed as the solution to healthier and whiter teeth. Before picking one off the shelf, however, you should probably remind yourself that you’re dealing with a sensitive part of your body and not a tough piece of flooring or furniture.
Brushing too hard or using tough bristles can also cause serious harm to tooth structure. When you rub these toothbrushes against your teeth, they can end up causing small holes and crevices to form without you noticing. Not only does this erode enamel and expose sensitive tissue, but it also results in the proliferation of harmful germs and bacteria. Even if you brush your teeth enough times a day, you’ll only be accelerating the rate at which your teeth become sensitive and prone to painful cavities.
Hard bristles can also really miss out on the areas that need cleaning the most, such as between teeth and under the gum line. By ignoring vital spots in your mouth, toothbrushes with hard bristles can end up increasing the risk of you developing serious tooth and gum diseases, and even invite more germs and bacteria into your mouth. They can also cause the gums to recede and separate from the teeth as a result of untreated plaque.
Soft-bristled toothbrushes are always a wise and better choice when it comes to dental care. Unlike hard-bristled toothbrushes, they can smoothly glide along the surfaces of your teeth without eroding enamel or drilling tiny holes where germs and bacteria can gather. They can also reach into vital spots near your teeth and gums so you don’t run the risk of developing cavities or periodontal disease. As long as you brush properly with a soft-bristled toothbrush three times a day, you don’t have to worry about your teeth turning discolored, painful, or severely unhealthy.