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  • Angela Murphy, RDH

Am I Brushing Too Hard?


Brushing regularly is considered vital for healthy teeth and gums, but be careful… you can overdo a good thing if you are brushing improperly or using the wrong kind of toothbrush!

Brushing Too Hard is Harmful

Brushing your teeth too hard/vigorously is known as over-brushing. This may happen to people who have the best intentions to keep their mouth clean, but they’re simply using too much force or too hard of a toothbrush. Most people who are over-brushing have no idea they are doing this and generally have excellent dental habits.

Signs of Over-brushing

Your dental hygienist will be able to identify signs of over-brushing at your dental visit.

These may include:

  • Receding gums.

  • Enamel wear.

  • Cavities on the roots of the teeth

Fortunately, you can stop over-brushing and minimize your risk of these problems. Even if you don’t think you’re over-brushing, there are some simple steps to follow to keep your mouth healthy and avoid this habit.

Watch Your Brush

Replace your toothbrush every three months – or as soon as it shows signs of wear. If the bristles are fraying or don’t look new anymore, you’ve probably worn away the softened edges of the bristles. This means you are now scraping your teeth with jagged ends that aren’t meant to touch your teeth.

Keep track of how long it takes before your toothbrush shows signs of wear. If your brush looks frayed after just a month, this is a sign that you’re brushing too hard in general. A quality toothbrush will typically last at least two months. Make sure you choose a brush that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Be Gentle

Don’t scrub your mouth like you would the kitchen sink. As long as you gently but thoroughly reach all the areas of your mouth, you’ll be getting your teeth clean without damage. You shouldn’t be forcefully pushing the bristles against your teeth until they bend. Also, don’t use a back and forth, saw-like motion. Use small, circular strokes to cover each tooth on all sides. Your enamel won’t grow back once it’s gone, so treat it like gold!

Get the Right Brush

There’s no need to buy medium or hard bristle toothbrushes. Soft or even extra soft brushes can do just as an effective a job at cleaning your teeth, and are less likely to damage your enamel. If you have tooth sensitivity, a soft toothbrush is a must.

Don’t forget to floss every day, as this is crucial to removing bacteria and plaque between your teeth, where even the best brushing can’t reach.

Seeing your dental hygienist every six months is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy and avoid problems like over-brushing, cavities and bone loss.

Request an appointment so we can help you achieve optimal oral health!


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Serving the Peterborough region of Ontario, including Bridgenorth and Lakefield.