frayed toothbrush from brushing too hard

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard?

Brushing your teeth twice a day is important for keeping your teeth and mouth clean and healthy. But did you know that there’s a chance that your brushing could be damaging your teeth and gums? It’s true. It’s actually possible to brush your teeth too hard. And brushing too hard or using the wrong technique can lead to problems such as enamel wear and receding gums. Not sure if you’re brushing a little too aggressively; read on to find out.

How To Tell If You’re Brushing Too Hard

There are a few ways to tell if you’re brushing your teeth too hard.

Toothbrush is frayed – Take a look at your toothbrush. If you’ve been using your toothbrush for three months or less, it should look relatively new. The bristles should look in place and not beat up. However, if the bristles on your toothbrush appear flat and bent out of shape, that’s an indicator that you might be brushing way too hard.

Teeth are sensitive – Have you noticed that your teeth are a bit more sensitive than usual? This is due to your gums receding and part of your teeth becoming exposed that have been covered until that point.  

Teeth aren’t as white – If you feel like your teeth are becoming more stained than usual, you may be on to something. Brushing too hard strips your teeth of the white, glossy enamel, making your teeth seem dull and yellow. Also, underneath the gums, your teeth are a darker shade because those underlying “root surfaces” don’t have enamel on them. If your teeth recede, the darker portion of your tooth becomes exposed and visible.

How to Properly Brush Your Teeth

Many people think the best way to get your teeth clean and white is by brushing aggressively. That’s not the case by any means. There is actually a right way to brush your teeth.

Step 1. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should always use a toothbrush with an American Dental Association (ADA) seal. The size and shape should fit your mouth, so it is easy to reach all areas of your mouth. Soft-bristled brushes help to gently clean your teeth without being abrasive.

Step 2. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. The goal is to clean underneath and around your gum line effectively.

Step 3. Gently move the brush back and forth. It’s the motions you use rather than the pressure that will clean your teeth. Use short, tooth-wide strokes. If you’re using an electric toothbrush, just guide it across your teeth. The toothbrush should be doing all the work.

Step 4. Hold your toothbrush with three fingers or your non-dominant hand. Doing either of these helps you to use a gentle grip and not mindlessly get too aggressive with your brushing.

Step 5. Brush for two minutes. Sure, it might seem like an eternity if you’re not used to brushing for this long, but according to the ADA, brushing for two minutes twice a day helps to prevent plaque and cavities.

older man brushing his teeth too hard

What To Do If You Brushed Too Hard and Have Damage

If left untreated, dental abrasion and gum recession can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. If you have worn the enamel off your teeth, your dentist may recommend treatment to protect your teeth and to cover up exposed dentin – the part of the tooth that is beneath the enamel. This may include a fluoride varnish to strengthen your teeth, placing a tooth-colored filling over the abraded area, or covering the exposed surface using a veneer.

For gum recession, unfortunately, your gums may never return to normal. This is because your gums can’t regrow tissue. For severe gum damage, you might need grafting surgery to replace missing gum tissue.

Schedule An Appointment With a VIPcare Dental Dentist Today!

Of course, dentists want you to brush your teeth, but having a spotless smile doesn’t require overbrushing or brushing too hard. If you’re worried you might be brushing your teeth too hard, schedule an appointment with your dentist. With a quick examination, your dentist can provide you with the proper feedback and guidance on how to properly brush your teeth to ensure your smile and oral health remain healthy.