Brushing teeth is the main element of a proper oral hygiene routine. For this reason, you may think that you get better results as you brush more. However, the facts are telling us something different. Brushing more may not be a good thing at all. This means there has to be a limit for brushing. Therefore, can you brush your teeth too much?
Although our teeth are the hardest and most durable structures in our body, being exposed to friction for a long time can wear them out. For this reason, habits such as brushing too hard or too often can cause serious damage to your teeth and gums, while trying to protect them.
In this article, we will focus on the symptoms and consequences of overbrushing teeth with you. So, let’s see if you can brush your teeth too much!
Perils of overbrushing: Signs you need to watch for
Can you brush your teeth too much? Absolutely, you can. Yes, you’ve heard it right, too much of a good thing is actually a quite dangerous phenomenon for your oral health. Many people suffer from dental problems despite they apply their oral hygiene routine. They even can have serious problems like gum disease due to overbrushing. The trick has always been to apply the correct brushing technique and frequency.
So, how these dental problems can occur? Overbrushing can show itself in various ways so you can be aware of the situation and have some precautions. What are these symptoms? Let’s dive into the details, and explore them before it’s too late!
Bruised toothbrush bristles
Toothbrushes also have a durability limit. All show wear and tear over time. However, sometimes your toothbrushes may wear out prematurely as a result of excessive use or force while brushing.
Prematurely worn, warped bristles may indicate that you are using your toothbrush too much. In fact, another possibility is that your toothbrush is of very poor quality. If you have eliminated the second option, it probably means you over-brushed your teeth, which is dangerous for your teeth and gums.
Red, swollen, and bleeding gums
Brushing too hard or brushing too often can cause serious damage to your gums. This can cause gingival injuries. In fact, since your gums are soft tissues, you need to brush them carefully. In addition, factors such as using a toothbrush with soft bristles are very important to protect your gums.
Injuries caused by overbrushing can progress to infections and swelling. If you often spit blood when you brush your teeth, this may be a sign of excessive brushing and the conditions mentioned above.
Our teeth consist of three separate layers. The outermost of these is the enamel layer. Tooth enamel is the hardest and most durable structure in our body. However, just as constantly flowing water can chip away a large rock, constant pressure, and brushing can wear away this hard and durable layer of your teeth.
While there are no nerve endings in the enamel layer, they are found in the lower layers. Therefore, a bonded enamel will make your teeth more sensitive. If you experience tooth sensitivity despite a good oral hygiene routine, it is useful to check your brushing frequency and the pressure you apply.
Tooth enamel is also the layer that gives our teeth their white color. The dentin layer under it is yellowish in color. If you have been overbrushing your teeth for a very long time, this can cause the enamel layer to be severely worn and the underlying dentin to gain visibility, which means discoloration.
If you do not have habits such as smoking, wine, and coffee consumption that may cause discoloration, and you still have a discoloration problem, the problem may be overbrushing.
What happens if you brush your teeth too much?
So, what if you don’t notice these signs and keep overbrushing your teeth? The above symptoms already occur as a result of overbrushing your teeth. Continuing overbrushing will increase these and indirectly cause more serious problems. We can define them as follows:
- Sensitivity: Vigorous brushing can erode the enamel, affecting the nerve endings while consuming hot and cold foods, leading to tooth sensitivity.
- Decay and discoloration: Enamel protects teeth from bacteria, but erosion weakens it and makes teeth more susceptible to cavities. Overbrushing can also cause decay and discoloration due to worn enamel.
- Receding gums: Exposure to constant vigorous brushing can seriously damage your gums, causing them to recede over time.
- Gum diseases: As a result of receding gums, harmful bacteria can fill the gaps and cause damage to teeth and gums over time. Overbrushing can cause gum recession, creating a more favorable environment for periodontal diseases.
What to do with damaged teeth and gums
Fortunately, even if the damage to your teeth and gums has progressed, there are treatments available. Of course, it should be your priority not to experience these problems at all, but even if your teeth are worn and your gums are receding by overbrushing, there are still treatment options, such as cosmetic treatments and gum grafting. We can list them as follows:
The surprising effects of fluoride on dental health have long been known. It’s already a pretty good agent in protecting your teeth. In addition, it is effective in the remineralization of tooth enamel, which contains a large number of minerals. That is, it is even possible to reverse minor bruises and abrasions. With fluoride therapy, your dentist can strengthen your teeth to a certain extent. You can also contribute to this process yourself by buying fluoride-containing kinds of toothpaste and dental products.
It is not possible to naturally return the receding gums. However, gum grafting can be applied to the area where the recession occurred with surgery. This can happen by extending your gums towards the area recession or by transplanting tissue from another area. Although these are minor operations, they can only be performed in clinics by specialists.
There are cosmetic dental apparatuses that you can evaluate for teeth that have had irreversible damage. The main ones are veneers and crowns. For severely damaged or discolored teeth, your dentist may provide a better appearance by shaving the surface of the tooth a little and placing them instead. These are basically cosmetic treatments, although they can perform some functions that a weakened enamel loses. They aim to bring your beautiful smile back to you.
What should I do to prevent overbrushing?
Of course, it is much better not to come to the point of evaluating all these treatments at all. It has a very simple rule. A proper brushing routine. Another important thing is your oral care equipment.
Toothbrushes with soft bristles are always better. They offer a better cleaning and cause as little damage to your teeth and gums as possible. In addition, you should brush by making circular movements at an angle of forty-five degrees. You should avoid applying excessive pressure while brushing.
The ideal brushing frequency is twice a day. You should brush your teeth before you eat anything in the morning and before you go to bed in the evening. Brushing more than three times a day is considered overbrushing. Two minutes are appropriate for these brushings. This is half a minute for each half of the lower and upper jaw. As long as you pay attention to these, you are not expected to have a problem.
Addy M, Hunter ML. Can tooth brushing damage your health? Effects on oral and dental tissues. Int Dent J. 2003;53 Suppl 3:177-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1875-595x.2003.tb00768.x. PMID: 12875306. Link
Wiegand A, Schlueter N. The role of oral hygiene: does toothbrushing harm? Monogr Oral Sci. 2014;25:215-9. doi: 10.1159/000360379. Epub 2014 Jun 26. PMID: 24993269. Link