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Overbrushing Your Teeth

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 12:25 AM

Common sense might dictate, “If I brush harder, my teeth will get whiter.” Unfortunately, this kind of thinking can backfire. Overbrushing is the number one cause of tooth abrasion.  Initially, your teeth may look cleaner and brighter with vigorous brushing, but ultimately you will wear the outer white enamel layer thin and the yellow/brown/gray secondary layer will begin to show through.  That may explain why your teeth get darker as you  get older.  If the enamel is worn away, not only will the teeth  look darker, but perhaps even look  thinner. 


Toothbrush Abrasion



Toothbrush abrasion may also affect your gums too. Often the earliest sign of the problem is what people describe as a ‘little ledge’ in the tooth at the very margin near the gum. The person often feels this with a fingernail and sometimes there is an ‘electric shock sensation’ when the area is touched with the fingernail or a toothbrush bristle. Sometimes, there are no shocking symptoms but sensitivity to cold may be a regular occurrence. 


As the damage progresses, it becomes more and more noticeable, with the gum tissue receding away, causing the tooth to look longer as more of its root surface is exposed. The damage to the tooth eventually manifests as a v-shaped notch at the gum margin which increases in both width and depth over time.


What’s important when brushing your teeth is not how hard you scrub, but that you use the proper technique and that you do a thorough job. And that is a skill that takes time to master. So don’t just scrub your teeth clean; brush them properly with care and consciousness.  Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for two to three minutes to get the most thorough cleaning. In my opinion, if you do it right, it should take less than a minute to properly brush your teeth.


The following are some basic tips for brushing your teeth correctly:


  • Floss first.
  • Use a soft-bristled nylon toothbrush to prevent gum damage and dental wear in the root area. Do not use a hard-bristled toothbrush. Do not use a natural bristle toothbrush.
  • Brush your tongue before your teeth. Place the head of your toothbrush with the tips of the bristles at a 45-degree-angle to the gumline when brushing .Move the toothbrush with short strokes and a circular motion, several times in each spot – do NOT saw back and forth across the teeth with your toothbrush.
  • Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums. If you are squashing the bristles, you're brushing too hard.
  • Always brush the backs (tongue facing side) of your teeth first and work your way forward.
  • Use toothpaste with a low abrasive level.


The best way to avoid abrading your teeth and gums is by seeing your dental professional for regular checkups. Make sure that you review proper brushing technique. Once the abrasion damage is done, it is impossible to reverse it naturally.


By implementing a little extra awareness in your brushing technique, your teeth can stay strong and healthy for life.


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Categories: Enlightened Dentistry

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9 Comments

Reply Scott
2:06 AM on September 7, 2012 
I am following a breatharian lifestyle where I do not eat food or drink any liquids. Do I still have to brush my teeth? I usually brush my teeth with the inner fibers of a tree stick.
Reply Dr. Brand
9:52 AM on September 7, 2012 
Hi Scott,
This is a bit out of my expertise, but I believe the answer is "Yes." There are still bacteria living in your body, mouth included. If you need to clean your body (bathing) on a regular basis, I think the same would apply to your mouth. No harm done by brushing your teeth on a regular basis. Tongue cleaning might be even more important than the actual tooth brushing. Hope this helps.
Reply Scott
1:03 PM on September 7, 2012 
Dr. Brand says...
Hi Scott,
This is a bit out of my expertise, but I believe the answer is "Yes." There are still bacteria living in your body, mouth included. If you need to clean your body (bathing) on a regular basis, I think the same would apply to your mouth. No harm done by brushing your teeth on a regular basis. Tongue cleaning might be even more important than the actual tooth brushing. Hope this helps.


Thanks Dr. Brand! I have been getting bad breath in the morning and evening, most likely due to bacteria as you mentioned. I'll be cleaning my tongue with a toothbrush.
Reply Abby
12:25 PM on October 3, 2012 
What can be done to repair receding gum lines due to the damage from over brushing?
Reply Dr. Brand
2:03 PM on October 3, 2012 
Hi Abby.
What a great question!
There is no natural way that I know of that can regenerate the gum once it is lost. However, you can have gum graft surgery to improve the esthetics. Here is a good blog I found that explains it. http://periodonticsdentalimplants.blogspot.com/2011/12/gum-grafts
-flawless-treatment-to-repair.html
Just change any habits that may contribute to the recession so that the condition does not get worse.
Reply Elaine
11:37 PM on June 30, 2013 
Receding gums and discoloration of the teeth as we age is also due to loss of calcium from our bones. I saw this happening to me when I turned 63 and began to supplement with bone loss supplements and vegetable juicing. My gums have returned to normal and the enamel has returned white as ever.
Reply Elaine
11:40 PM on June 30, 2013 
Abby says...
What can be done to repair receding gum lines due to the damage from over brushing?

Begin a vegetable juicing routine and take bone loss supplements that are found in reputable companies such as Life Extension Foundation. It worked for me!
Reply Irina
4:45 PM on July 16, 2013 
Elaine says...
Dear Elaine,

Please let me know exactly what supplement you buy?
Thank you


Begin a vegetable juicing routine and take bone loss supplements that are found in reputable companies such as Life Extension Foundation. It worked for me!
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