Toothbrush abrasion occurs when a tooth surface wears away from overzealous brushing. Typically, abrasion will occur on the root surface of a tooth instead of the crown. The crown of a tooth is covered in enamel, which is the most robust and most resilient structure in the body. The root surface is much softer and porous and can be easily worn away. Toothbrush abrasion most commonly occurs at the gum line on the front aspect of teeth, where aggressive brushing is easiest. Toothbrush abrasion is quite evident because the areas will appear notched out and may also be sensitive.
As the name suggests, toothbrush abrasion is typically caused by overzealous brushing along the gum line. Contributing factors are using a medium or hard-bristled toothbrush, brushing for too long or too many times a day, and aggressive brushing habits.
It is essential to use either a super soft or soft manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush with a pressure indicator. Medium and hard-bristled toothbrushes are stiff and prone to abrasion. Ensure to use a proper brushing technique that doesn’t aggravate the gums, such as a rolling stroke away from the gums. In addition, make sure to replace your toothbrush at least every three months or when you notice the bristles are changing colour. If you ever see the bristles of your toothbrush are splayed, this is a good indication you are brushing too aggressively.
It is crucial to use sensitivity toothpaste to prevent any sensitivity associated with the abrasion. If the abrasion is mild, it can be left and monitored. If the abrasion is moderate to severe, fillings can be placed in the notched-out areas to protect the vulnerable tooth structure from future wear and prevent sensitivity from external stimuli such as cold drinks.