Electric toothbrush hurts my teeth: the truth revealed!

You wanted your teeth to benefit from the mightiness of technology and you bought an electric toothbrush. It offers a very effective cleaning, but you noticed a problem: “OMG! Electric toothbrush hurts my teeth!” Maybe your gums hurt after an electric toothbrush too. What a nightmare huh? Maybe you feel like you’ve been overcharged for something useless or even destructive. 

First of all, you probably haven’t been conned. However, you may need to consider your oral care habits and techniques. Unlike manual brushes, powered toothbrushes are strong devices, strong enough to make your teeth hurt after brushing. If you don’t use them properly, they can cause damage to your teeth and gums. Let’s investigate how electric toothbrush hurts teeth!

Why does an electric toothbrush hurt my teeth?

With great power comes great responsibility.

You probably remember these words that Uncle Ben said before giving his last breath. He hadn’t said these words to his nephew Peter (Spider-Man) for nothing. He had a point, one that applies to everything from social relations to your electric toothbrush. Yes, even on the little device in your bathroom, you can see the truth in his words. It may seem ridiculous, but it’s not. Let us explain.

All the technological devices we use actually highly increase our power of doing different things. In the field of dental hygiene, it is electric toothbrushes. They appear to be the superior choice over all other toothbrushes. They leave you with almost nothing to do. They spin, shake, and move non-stop, they even have timers! So, you may think that they are the best choice for your teeth, it removes plaque and bacteria just like how spider-man beat up bad guys.

However, the situation is a little more complicated. Objections are rising against electric toothbrushes these days. While some dentists agree that these devices offer faster and more powerful cleaning compared to traditional toothbrushes, they also say it’s only a matter of time before a standard user experiences the symptoms of overbrushing. Combined with wrong brushing habits, electric toothbrushes can be harmful to your oral health with their excessive power. Also, their bristles can get worn and hardened after a while. Let’s see how electric toothbrushes hurt your teeth then!

Bad choice of toothbrush

Before we start blaming ourselves, it’s good to rule out other possibilities. Just like manual toothbrushes, there are good and bad options when it comes to electric toothbrushes. For example, if you are using such a powerful device, you should definitely stay away from those with hard bristles. Additionally, your toothbrush may be applying excessive power or it may be moving too aggressively. You have to stay away from this kind of brush in order to protect your teeth and gums.

Wrong brushing technique

Using an electric toothbrush incorrectly can damage your tooth enamel. Although enamel is the hardest and most durable tissue in our body, being exposed to excessive pressure and friction can also wear it down. When using a self-brushing device, all you have to do is run the brush over the surfaces, and make sure not to apply too much pressure. Luckily, the problem created by technology can be solved by itself. You can find electric brushes with built-in timers or pressure sensors. You can choose this type of brush to avoid overbrushing.

Your tooth enamel may be worn

Let’s say you’re a little late for what you’ve read so far. You have been using an electric toothbrush inaccurately for a long time and you feel pain and sensitivity in your teeth. This indicates that the outermost layer of your tooth, the enamel layer, may be severely worn.

The enamel layer is a solid layer, it does not contain nerve endings, but the dentin layer just below has nerve endings. Wearing down your enamel can make it more vulnerable to external factors, which in turn can stimulate the nerves in the dentin layer. As a result, it will be inevitable for you to experience tooth sensitivity and toothache. 

Why do my gums hurt after using an electric toothbrush?

In fact, it’s pretty much the same reason why you say electronic toothbrush hurts my teeth: aggressive brushing and over-brushing.

Moreover, unlike your teeth, your gums are soft tissues. As soft and living tissues, they can be damaged much more easily. So, your gum health can be in danger after an electric toothbrush when they are constantly exposed to excessive force and friction. When this happens, your gums hurt, and blood may come out when you spit.

Consistently pushing and damaging your gums while using an electric toothbrush can lead to gum recession. If left untreated, this condition can cause periodontal disease, bad breath, jaw pains, and even tooth loss. Therefore, it’s important to understand the possible reasons why your gums may hurt after using an electric toothbrush.

You might have sensitive gums

Gum sensitivity can be caused by gum disease, vitamin deficiencies, hormonal changes, diabetes, and smoking. Symptoms include swelling, redness, and bleeding, which can be noticed after brushing. If you find out that you have sensitive gums, you should be more careful while using an electric toothbrush. Since electric toothbrushes are more likely to make you overbrush your teeth and gums, you may face bleeding or swelling gums.

You might need deep cleaning

Electric toothbrushes are powerful devices, but they are not the exact solution for tartar or similar problems. If you have such things accumulated on your teeth and gum line, probably what you need is more than regular cleaning. If you try to brush more and harder to apply this cleaning by yourself with your electric toothbrush, you can damage your gums and teeth much more. That’s why you have to get a deep cleaning service at a dental clinic. 

How can I prevent this from happening?

Sensitive teeth and gum sensitivity are conditions that will disturb your comfort. On the other hand, they are also quite common. Your main goal should be to prevent them before they appear by knowing the correct brushing techniques and regularly visiting your dentist.

Now, we will look at the simple measures we need to take with you for this and the first thing you should know to prevent such situations is how to brush your teeth correctly. 

How to brush correctly

So, how can you brush correctly with an electric toothbrush? As we mentioned overbrushing is the main risk of this type of toothbrush. Hence you have to be extra careful while using them. And here are some important tips you should keep in mind:

  • Do not apply extra force, they are powerful enough by themselves. 
  • Always be careful about using soft bristles.
  • What you contribute to the automatic moves of the electric toothbrush is to arrange the brush head at a 45-degree angle to the surface.
  • Small-headed ones are generally better. They can reach more surfaces.
  • Don’t let your entire brushing exceed 2-3 minutes. 
  • You can choose smart toothbrushes with an in-built timer or pressure sensor on them. 
  • Change the electric toothbrush head every three months.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and leave it for a while because it strengthens your teeth.

Everybody needs regular check-ups

There is no need to wait for a serious problem to see a doctor. Today, regular check-ups are very accessible to many people. If you have any problems, you will be able to prevent them before they progress by having regular check-ups. It will be very beneficial to have this done not only for your teeth but also for your general health.


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Danser MM, Timmerman MF, IJzerman Y, van der Velden U, Warren PR, van der Weijden FA. A comparison of electric toothbrushes in their potential to cause gingival abrasion of oral soft tissues. Am J Dent. 1998 Sep;11(Spec No):S35-9. PMID: 10530098. Link