Is Overbrushing Your Teeth Possible?

October 16, 2019

You know you should be brushing your teeth no less than twice a day. But do you know if there’s a maximum limit to daily brushing sessions? Maybe you wondered about it before a date or after a sugary meal, but you never took the time to learn about it until now.

First things first, the answer to the above question is no, there is no such thing as brushing too often. On the flipside, there is such a thing as overbrushing or brushing too vigorously. This is what can harm your teeth even if you stick to brushing two times a day.

Luckily, preventing overbrushing is easy with the right tools and techniques!

Get Rid of Old Toothbrushes with Damaged Bristles

ToothbrushesWhen you first buy a toothbrush, the bristles are a smooth and rounded nylon. They’re designed to be non-abrasive and gentle on your teeth and gums and will stay that way for some time.

However, once you hit the 6-month mark, those smooth bristles begin to wear down into rough edges that appear with repeated use. This is the time many dentists recommend buying a new toothbrush, not just for cleanliness reasons, but also because the bristles are no longer safe for your teeth.

If you’re still using an old toothbrush, you probably are overbrushing your teeth.

Choose a Soft Bristled Brush

Even brand new brushes can be too much for your teeth if you’re purchasing the wrong type. Your gums and teeth are more delicate than you realize and anything too stiff or harsh is not healthy for them. Unfortunately, many of the toothbrushes available are just that.

Each brush should have the bristle type on its packaging—hard, medium, soft or extra soft. You may be tempted to buy the hard or medium option thinking it will clean your teeth better, but you would be mistaken. A soft bristled brush does just as good of a job, only without the irritation.

Your dentist should be able to recommend a brush that will work for you if you’re overwhelmed by choice.

Practice Your Technique

Now that you’ve found the perfect brush, it’s time to take a look at how you’re brushing your teeth. You shouldn’t be mimicking your grout-scrubbing technique—in fact, “scrubbing” shouldn’t be a word you would use.

Gently “massaging” is a better way to think about it. For your front teeth, use small, circular motions while holding your brush at a 45-degree angle. For the back, hold at a direct angle and use vertical strokes going back and forth. Don’t press too hard or use excessive pressure; let the bristles do the work for you.

If you feel the need to brush after a meal, wait at least 30 minutes to do so. It’s especially important to wait if you’ve consumed something acidic like coffee or citrus. Those acids can make your enamel temporarily weak, leaving it more vulnerable to damage.

Follow these tips and you won’t have to worry about overbrushing ever again!