We all want shiny white teeth to share with the world. Since childhood, we’re taught that proper, regular brushing is our ticket to the perfect smile. But how much is too much? Is it possible to over-brush your teeth?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
All too often, I meet with patients who have otherwise strong, healthy mouths, but their aggressive habits leads to harsh toothbrush abrasion. In reality, brushing more than three times a day can lead to worn enamel, receding gums, and a host of other avoidable problems. Most importantly, enthusiastic brushers need to remember that it’s not about vigorous scrubbing—it’s about thorough technique.
What happens when you brush too much?
People who brush too forcefully or too often wear down their teeth’s surface enamel, push back their gums, and expose the highly sensitive root region where cavities can form and disease can thrive. Abrasion from scrubbing too hard can even create grooves, which luckily, dentists can fix with bonding agents in severe situations.
So, how much should I brush?
The ADA recommends that we brush our teeth twice a day for about two minutes. Then, individuals should floss once at night to complete their regimen. Still, finding that sweet spot isn’t enough. You should follow this suggested cleaning program, but it’s even more important that you master proper brushing technique and use the ideal tool for your mouth.
Is using an old toothbrush bad for you?
Yes. Forget about the issue of bacteria, which is reason enough to ditch your old brush. People should retire their toothbrushes after approximately three months of use. When your bristles get worn and frayed, you may find yourself brushing harder, creating unnecessary damage. When it’s time to choose a new instrument, go for a soft-bristled brush, especially if you’re prone to overdoing it. It has plenty of power to scrub away unwanted plaque.
What’s the perfect brushing technique?
All you need is a series of gentle, repetitive strokes to adequately clean the surface of your teeth and gums. This is why electric toothbrushes can be so effective. The bristles do all the work as you lightly guide the device throughout all the nooks and crannies of your mouth. And remember—less is more.