Can You Over Brush Your Teeth?

A man brushes his teeth in a mirror.

Brushing your teeth is good for your oral hygiene. That’s not exactly news. But is it possible to over brush your teeth? If you’re feeling a bit of tooth and gum sensitivity, you might want to rethink your routine.

As it turns out, you can over brush your teeth, but it’s not so much about how much your brush your teeth. Instead, over brushing comes down to brushing your teeth too hard.

According to Dr. Kami Hoss, founder of The Super Dentist, brushing too hard could contribute to tooth sensitivity and gum damage. She explained to Sensodyne that most people over brush because they’re attempting to kill all the bacteria in the mouth and believe it will give them a better clean.

Gene Romo, DDS, told Everyday Health that people often mistakenly believe that vigorous brushing helps to whiten teeth as well when, in fact, it has the opposite effect. Romo explained that over brushing can wear down the white enamel leading to your tooth looking yellow.

How can you tell if you’re over brushing your teeth? Tooth and gum sensitivity could be a sign (but could also be signs of a variety of other oral health issues). Instead, Romo said to look at your toothbrush. If you’ve had it for three months or less, it should still look new. If you haven’t had it long and its bristles are flared and beat up, you might be brushing too hard.

As for the proper way to brush, Romo said to use a soft-bristled brush that’s American Dental Association-approved and use short, wide strokes to clean the outward-facing and inward-facing sides of your teeth. If you’re using an electric toothbrush, just glide it along your teeth without applying additional pressure. Also, be sure to brush for a full two minutes twice a day.

If you’ve been feeling extra sensitive lately or have noticed your toothbrushes wearing down over time, maybe take it easy on those chompers for a while.


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