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Is My Child Overbrushing His or Her Teeth?

You’ve fought what seemed like an endless battle to get your toddler to brush his or her teeth and then they take it to the next level because that toothbrush seems like a permanent fixture in their mouth. There’s no telling where they’ve put that toothbrush before it goes in there, but toddlers seem to put everything in their mouth as a way of exploration to learn about the environment that surrounds them.

Fast forward to the teen years when your child is wearing braces. Braces present their own complications such as allowing food to be easily caught between teeth. The teen years are also a phase when kids start to worry about their physical appearance and with this can come the risk of overbrushing, rinsing and flossing.

So when should you be concerned about over brushing?

  • Dental abrasion – this refers to the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from a foreign object, according to the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. In this case, the over enthusiastic use of the toothbrush wears away at the tooth enamel and, eventually, the softer dentin and cementum structures. You can identify abrasion as worn, shiny, and often yellow or brown spots on the tooth near the gumline. Notching — a wedge or V-shaped indention of the tooth along the gumline — is also a sign of abrasion.
  • Tooth sensitivity – if too much enamel is scraped away from overbrushing, your child can develop tooth sensitivity and nerve damage. This causes pain when children are exposed to hot, cold, sweet and sour foods and drinks.
  • Gum recession – continued improper and excessive brushing can lead to the softer cementum of the tooth root to be open to deterioration. This exposure may cause pain and discomfort and greater vulnerability to decay.

Are there treatments for tooth damage caused by overbrushing?

Since overbrushing can make your child’s teeth and gums vulnerable to overexposure and decay, we may need to utilize certain sealants to strengthen and bond the tooth surface. This approach provides long-term protection to those teeth and strengthens them against future harm. These treatments may include a fluoride varnish, veneer or composite bonding. For gum recession, it’s difficult to provide a child with a full restoration. In some extreme cases, children may receive gum grafting surgery if the missing gum tissue must be replaced to preserve the cementum.

Overbrushing can be stopped in its tracks with the proper brushing techniques. Stay tuned for future blog posts on this subject.

Pediatric Dental Associates of Alabama is a pediatric dentist practice with offices in Hoover, Birmingham, Cullman, Oxford, and Pell City, Alabama. We also offer orthodontics at certain locations. Our staff is uniquely trained and highly skilled, and we strive to provide unparalleled service to each patient. Our staff consists of team members with specialized training and certifications, and years of experience in treating patients with the highest level of care. We strive to stay abreast of the very latest in technology and advances by regularly attending continuing education courses and seminars.

To experience the difference and “why us,” schedule your appointment with your child’s dental office today!

 

 

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