Jan 15, 2018

Over Brushing: Too Much of a Good Habit

We all know that brushing our teeth is one of the most important things that we can do for our oral health. It removes plaque and other bacteria, keeps our teeth and gums clean and helps our mouth stay minty fresh. Despite all the benefits of brushing your teeth, there can be too much of a good thing. Over brushing can cause several problems for your teeth, gums and mouth that you would rather avoid. Also known as toothbrush abrasion, over brushing can lead to weakened enamel and receding gums.

While we all know that we have to give our teeth a thorough clean with our toothbrush every day, it is important to avoid being too forceful with our actions. The enamel on our teeth is a softer membrane than we might imagine. Enamel is a porous material that is subject to external forces such as vigorous brushing. Therefore, over brushing can cause this enamel to wear down over time. Tooth enamel is hard to replace, and may even require dental treatments such as veneers or crowns in order to protect your teeth.

Dental Plaque is Soft

It is important to remember that plaque does not require forceful brushing in order to totally remove it from your mouth. The most common victims of over brushing are often those who are the most diligent about their oral health. As a result, their teeth and gums become damaged. However, dental plaque is a soft material which does not require such strenuous activity to evict it from your mouth. You could remove all the plaque in your mouth with a damp cloth, only that is is difficult to reach certain parts of your gum line with such material. That is why a toothbrush is useful, as its long handle allows you to get access to those more difficult places. Removing all the plaque from your mouth requires thoroughness rather than forcefulness. The brushing strategy that you should adopt requires you to be more tactile in the removal of plaque.

Read More: What You Should Know About Abrasive Toothpaste

Proper Brushing Technique

Instead of over brushing, you should use a proper brushing technique as part of your daily routine. Here are some suggestions of things that you can do to remove all the plaque while maintaining healthy teeth and gums:


  • Brush for two to three minutes to adequately remove all the plaque from your mouth.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damage to the teeth and gums.
  • When brushing, keep the bristles of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle from the gum line to avoid irritation.
  • Use a scrubbing motion and short strokes rather than a back and forth sawing motion.
  • Use just enough pressure that you can feel the bristles against your gums.


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