The Surprising Risks of Brushing Too Hard

by Dr. Christiana Onisiforou – Prosthodontist

Taking Care of Your Smile

We’ve all been taught from an early age that brushing our teeth is a crucial part of maintaining good oral health. However, it turns out that there might be a hidden danger lurking in our dental routines — brushing too hard.

How over-brushing occurs

If you’re a hard brusher, you’re not alone. The Wall Street Journal states that about 20% of people in the U.S. have damaged their gums or teeth due to over-brushing. Interestingly, those with otherwise good oral hygiene habits who opt for medium or hard-bristle toothbrushes are more likely to fall into this category. Factors like bruxism, past orthodontic treatments, and genetic predispositions can also contribute to the risk of damaging teeth from over-brushing.

If a person has a habit of brushing too hard, that can wear down teeth enamel and cause receding gums. This leaves sensitive teeth roots exposed. Receding gums can lead to other oral issues like cavities developing on teeth roots and periodontal disease.

It’s crucial to note that vigorous brushing serves no purpose when it comes to maintaining oral health. The excessive energy applied is unnecessary for plaque removal, and tartar cannot be eliminated by forceful brushing. Instead, the focus should be on thorough brushing, ensuring the toothbrush covers all surfaces, the junctions of teeth and gums, and the tongue.


How to brush properly

Brushing the right way is what matters, not how hard it is done. Dentists recommend brushing teeth for at least three minutes. Here’s how a person can get the most out of each brushing session:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. This is less likely to damage teeth enamel and soft tissues.
  • Keep the toothbrush angled towards the gums. It helps to clean the areas where teeth and gums meet.
  • Use short strokes when brushing. Soft circular motions are recommended.
  • The force used to brush with a manual toothbrush should be just enough to feel the bristles on the gums. For those using electric toothbrushes, almost no pressure is recommended.

Additional tips to avoid overbrushing are using your nondominant hand to brush or holding the toothbrush with just your fingertips to control pressure better. Checking the condition of your toothbrush is also crucial — if it looks frayed and worn out within a few weeks, it’s a red flag.

The bottom line

In conclusion, the main takeaway is clear: a gentle approach is key to maintaining a healthy smile. It’s not a scrubbing competition, but rather a gentle dance with your toothbrush. By following these tips and being mindful of your brushing habits, you can avoid the pitfalls of overbrushing and ensure a radiant, healthy smile for years to come.

Our team of dental specialists is experienced with treating oral problems caused by over-brushing, like damaged gum tissue or teeth enamel. We can also help you get rid of the symptoms of these issues like increased sensitivity and toothaches.

Contact our clinic “Art of Advanced Dentistry” for an evaluation today at +357 25 586250 or fill the form on our contact page.