Receding gums & overbrushing


Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
2
Hi all, first poster here, so do let me know if I'm doing anything wrong.

I've had rapid gum recession over the last few years & dentists keep saying it's due to overbrushing.

The trouble is, I've already been brushing extremely lightly for the past 3 years, any softer and I wouldn't be brushing at all.

I use an Oral-B electric brush with soft bristled heads for 2 mins 2x a day, Pro-expert toothpaste, fluride mouthwash, floss & waterpik (though only once a month).

I never touch the gums directly, other than slightly "penetrating the gumline" while brushing, as the NHS website says to do.

I've also cut out all sugary/starchy/greasy/sticky food & drinks & don't smoke or drink alcohol.

It just recently started getting painful, as there are a few super exposed areas of teeth that are really sensitive to pressure (eg from the pillow at night).

Any help would be greatly appriciated.

Thanks for reading
 
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honestdoc

Verified Dentist
Joined
Jun 14, 2018
Messages
1,215
Solutions
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It is true that traumatic brushing can cause irreversible damage to your gums and teeth. I had the same problem and my dentist growing up never mentioned it until it was very damaged. There is a difficult balance between traumatic brushing vs thorough brushing. I find that your soft bristled toothbrush or brush head needs to look like new and not be flattened or bent when it is replaced after 3 to 4 months. If it doesn't look like new bristles, you are causing damage. I told my mother she was brushing too hard (she taught me to brush when I was young) and she continued to flatten her toothbrush in less than a week and her gums receded near the root tips. We grafted her gums and it promptly failed.

The receding gums and teeth abrasions are permanent and will never grow back. If you have sensitive teeth, you can try sensitive toothpaste with Potassium Salts to block the sensitive dentinal tubules. You won't feel immediate relief because it takes a few weeks to work.
 
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Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
2
Hi honestdoc & thanks for your reply.

I use "sensi ultrathin" brush heads and swap them every 3 months, or when the blue tip fades to white. There isn't any noticeable flattening when swapping them out, which is why I find the continuing recession is so baffling. I know people who are much older & brush much harder, yet they have way better gums, go figure! The gum I still have is surprisingly healthy, no inflammation, bleeding or gingivitis, it's like there's some other mysterious force causing it.

One dentist suggested acid reflux, or the effect of braces pulling teeth forward & out of the gumline, though taking antacids doesn't seem to have slowed it down, and I had braces over 5 years ago. I do also have a wisdom tooth pointed sideways into the other teeth, which I've wondered if that could be pushing them.

Sorry to hear about your Mother's gum graft, I've stumbled on a lot of "gum graft horror stories" today & hope to avoid it like the plague, unless absolutely necessary.

I'll look into sensitive paste with potassium salts, the Pro-expert toothpaste offers some protection, but not enough for the worse bits.

That said, I could definitely live with it as is now, the fear is that it'll keep getting worse until things like gum grafts & extractions are inevitable, which is a pretty scary thought at age 22.

Until then, thanks again for your help & stay safe.
 

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