risks children brushing too hard

Risks of Children Brushing Teeth Too Hard

As a parent, one of the key areas you play a role in for a young child is helping them develop their oral care, namely brushing and flossing their teeth. Helping teach them how to brush properly, starting by helping them at a young age and eventually progressing to where they can brush for themselves, is vital for setting them up for a lifetime of proactive oral care.

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help with all areas of pediatric dentistry, from basic cleanings and kids dental x-rays to expertise on fluoride treatments and, yes, simple areas like teaching your child how to brush. One theme we regularly remind parents of here: While it’s important to show your child how to brush thoroughly and properly, you want to avoid them brushing too hard due to certain risks it can bring about – here are some of the concerns with brushing too hard, plus some basic tips to prevent it.

Risks of Brushing Too Hard

For starters, as one of the more common mistakes both children and adults alike make while brushing, we have ample evidence of the issues brushing too hard can cause in the mouth. This practice can damage both the teeth and the gums in several ways, including:

  • Loss of teeth or the bones around the teeth in the mouth
  • Significant loss of tooth enamel
  • Major tooth sensitivity, particularly to hot or cold temperatures
  • Receding gums, often permanently
  • Darker or yellow appearance due to loss of enamel

If you’re unsure whether your child is brushing too hard, have a look at their toothbrush and its bristles. Newer brushes should have straight, mostly normal bristles – if they already appear flat and worn down, you could be brushing too hard.

General Tips for Brushing

Here are some general tips to ensure your child is brushing properly and not exerting too much force:

  • Use only a soft-bristled brush unless your pediatric dentist has specifically instructed you otherwise. Ensure it has the ADA seal of approval.
  • Replace this brush at least once every three months, or sooner if fraying takes place.
  • Instruct your child to brush for two minutes twice a day, spending 30 seconds apiece on each section (or “quadrant”) of the mouth.
  • When brushing, show your child how to target the teeth and the gum line with slow, moderate-pressure circular strokes that move the brush back and forth gently. The goal here is to remove plaque, which is soft and does not require hard brushing to remove.
  • Remind your child to hold the toothbrush gently, which will help them brush lightly as well.

For more on helping ensure your child doesn’t brush their teeth too hard, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.