1. Brushing Too Often Ideally your dentist wants you to brush three times a day, after every meal. At the very least professionals suggest you brush once after breakfast and once before bed. But what if you eat six small meals a day? Should you still brush after every meal and every snack and every sip of coffee? This is where misconceptions about brushing teeth start to arise.
2. Brushing Too Vigorously Many dental patients attack their teeth with their toothbrushes, thinking they are getting rid of plaque hard and fast. But being over-zealous with your toothbrush does not remove any more plaque. Matter of fact, it starts harming the gum tissue and exposes the tooth root. Here the dentin is not protected by enamel, but rather a thin layer of cementum. Excessive or improper tooth brushing is liable to abrade these substances and do permanent damage. Right-handed patients tend to press harder when brushing the teeth on their left hand side. On the pictures you can see enamel lesions and gum recession caused by right-handed patients overbrushing their teeth.
3. Brushing With the Wrong Toothbrush Plaque is fairly soft. You could remove it with a damp cloth, if that could reach all the nooks and crannies where it hides. But once plaque hardens into calculus (tartar), the only way to remove it is with professional help from a dentist or hygienist. This is why there is not any extra benefit to using a hard bristle brush. The best manufactured toothbrushes have soft or medium nylon bristles. If you were to check these out under a microscope you would see they have rounded edges, instead of flat. This cuts down on the abrasiveness while still allowing the bristles to clean along the gumline and in the crevices of teeth. In some Muslim cultures it is highly recommended the use of a tree toothpick called miswak. It is even mentioned in their sacred book of Quran that the use of miswak ‘purifies the mouth’ and it is quoted by the Islamic prophet Muhammad himself. However, science has proven that the long term use of miswak can cause gum recession and abrasion lesions on the buccal surface of the teeth.
4. Brushing With the Wrong Toothpaste Toothpastes contain minor abrasive substances to remove plaque and superficial stains from teeth. Under normal use, toothpaste helps clear away plaque and food particles, but leaves the enamel and dentin intact. Researchers say it would take 80 to 100 years to remove just 1mm of exposed dentin. Enamel, as a much harder substance, would remain intact. However, not all toothpastes are created equal, especially those you might make at home. Abnormal or abusive brushing with abrasive toothpastes might not have much effect on the enamel. But it could dramatically impact the soft tissue and any exposed dentin.
5. Brushing Too Soon Acid is the most harmful substance for the enamel. So if you brush right after having highly acidic foods or beverages, the enamel has not had enough time to naturally recover. It is more susceptible to damage caused by overbrushing.