Many parents worry that their children brush their teeth too infrequently. However, did you know that it’s possible for children to actually brush their teeth too much? Like many things in life, it really is possible to have too much of a good thing.
At Children’s Dentistry in Las Vegas, we want all of our young patients to learn how to care for their beautiful smiles at a young age. See these top tips from our team of dentists at Children’s Dentistry.
What’s The Proper Way To Brush Teeth?
To understand if a child is brushing incorrectly, you need to make sure you are familiar with the correct brushing timing and form. Here’s the gold standard for tooth brushing:
- Brush twice a day: Your child should be brushing in the morning after eating breakfast, and in the evening after they eat their last snack of the day. Brushing only once a day (or not at all!) causes plaque to build up, which will harden into tartar over time.
- Brush for two minutes: To get a thorough clean, two minutes is the target for each tooth brushing session. If your child brushes less or more than that on a regular basis, they do themselves a disservice.
- Use deliberate brush strokes: During those vital two minutes, the child should thoroughly brush the front, tops, and back of all their teeth. They should pay close attention to make sure they cover every part of each tooth.
- Use the correct toothbrush: Choose a soft-bristled brush for your child; a hard bristled brush can cause bleeding on the gumline. Also, make sure the brush is replaced every three months, or when the brush begins to fray.
If you have more questions about proper tooth brushing form, the American Dental Association offers some helpful tips for both parents and children.
Why Is Brushing Teeth Too Much A Problem?
Now that we’ve established a baseline of good oral care, you may still be wondering why brushing teeth too much would be a big deal. “Isn’t it better if a child brushes too much than not enough?” you may ask.
The answer to that question is simple: brushing teeth too much or not enough are both problems, just for different reasons. When a child doesn’t brush two times a day for two minutes at a time, they run the risk of gingivitis, cavities, and a host of other problems. They may even end up needing pupal therapy or crowns if the issues are not addressed in a timely manner.
When a child brushes their teeth too much, these symptoms are unlikely to occur. However, they are at risk of a host of other complications, which increase in severity if not treated:
- Tooth sensitivity: Although enamel is often touted as the strongest substance in the body, it does have its limits. If teeth are brushed too often, enamel can slowly begin to thin, causing sensitivities to hot and cold. This problem is also amplified if the child brushes too aggressively or if they use a firm-bristled toothbrush.
- Gum sensitivity: If over brushing can harm durable enamel, can you imagine what it can do to soft gums? Although your child is only grazing their gums when they brush, in time their overzealousness in brushing will cause the gums to become sensitive and bleed.
- Nerve sensitivity: As gums continue to recede, nerves can become exposed. This pain is the worst of all, as the child will begin to feel sharp, shooting pains that can radiate far beyond their jaw.
How Do I Know If My Kid Brushes Teeth Too Much?
No parent wants their child to have to deal with those kinds of symptoms. So how do you identify the issue before it’s too late?
First, identify your child’s brushing routine. Take time to notice how often they brush, and how long they take to brush. If you’re concerned they brush teeth too much, log the times for a week to give you a better idea.
Also, understand that some children have a higher risk factor for over brushing. If your child fits into one of these categories, pay close attention to their brushing habits:
- Kids with braces: If your child has braces, it’s important that they take time to clean out any particles or debris that may stick in the wires or brackets of their braces. However, this can easily turn into over brushing if they are not careful.
- Teenagers: Because teens are typically more self-conscious about their appearance as their body changes, they may be tempted to brush their teeth too much.
- Children with special needs: Of course, the term “special needs” covers many different conditions. However, children with special needs may have difficulty maintaining proper oral care without extra assistance or supervision
If you fear that your child may be brushing their teeth too much, make sure you mention this to the pediatric dentist at your child’s next preventative care visit. Your dentist could make several suggestions to help, including the application of dental sealants to help protect your child’s enamel.
Children’s Dentistry Wants To Help
We hope this helped answer the question of whether your kids can brush their teeth too much or too often. If you live in the Las Vegas metro area, bring your child to one of Children’s Dentistry’s ten friendly locations. We have the experience and care to help your child keep the happy, healthy smile they deserve.
Contact us today to set up your appointment. We accept most major dental insurance policies, and also have valuable promotions for those who need to pay out of pocket. We want to make it easy for your child to have expert oral care.