Most of us understand how twice-daily teeth brushing helps keep cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems at bay. And because most of us start brushing at a really young age, it quickly becomes a habit that we tend to take for granted.
But surprisingly, about a third of Americans are brushing incorrectly, leaving themselves at risk for all sorts of problems that can take a toll on their health, smiles, and confidence.
Abir Faraj, DDS, and the providers at Novi Family Dentistry in Novi, Michigan, are experts in treating oral health issues as well as helping patients prevent them. In this blog, Dr. Faraj explains some key signs that could mean your brushing technique needs some help.
1. Bleeding gums
Poor brushing habits can lead to bleeding gums, which is a common sign of gum disease. Nearly half of Americans suffer from gum disease, putting them at risk for deep infections and tooth loss.
When you don’t brush well, you leave sticky plaque deposits along the gumline. Plaque contains the bacteria that cause gum disease. As these bacteria multiply, they irritate the gums, leading to bleeding, especially when you brush or floss.
2. Red or tender gums
Plaque deposits along your gums can also cause your gums to look red or swollen and feel sore and tender. These effects are also caused by irritation from bacteria found in plaque deposits.
Most people notice gum tenderness when they brush or floss, but your gums may also feel sore when you’re eating, especially if you eat crunchy or hard foods.
3. Chronic bad breath
Chronic bad breath is another potential sign of poor brushing habits. That’s because chronic bad breath (or halitosis) can be caused by bacteria left behind after brushing. These bacteria release odors as they grow, leading to bad breath.
4. Tooth sensitivity
Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures is also associated with poor brushing. Once again, bacteria contained in plaque deposits are to blame. As the bacteria multiply, irritating toxins cause your gums to pull away from the tooth surfaces, exposing the lower parts of your teeth, which tend to be more sensitive to temperature extremes.
5. Yellow or dingy teeth
Smoking and eating foods with deep pigments can cause tooth discoloration, but so can poor brushing. Plaque and tartar deposits left behind after brushing can result in a yellowish or grayish tinge, which can leave your smile looking worn, old, and unhealthy.
6. Tooth pain
Finally, toothaches or pain when biting and chewing can also be caused by poor brushing habits. If you’re not reaching all the areas around your teeth with your toothbrush and floss, you can leave behind food particles and bacteria that can lead to cavities and infections, which are two problems that can quickly lead to tooth pain.
Learn the right way to brush
Poor oral health doesn’t just affect your teeth and gums. It can have a negative impact on your overall health, as well.
Check out the American Dental Association website for tips on proper brushing techniques, and schedule a professional cleaning to learn tips tailored specifically for you. And if you have any signs of tooth or gum problems, call 313-646-7903 or book an appointment online at Novi Family Dentistry right away.