Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

September 22, 2021

In grade school, you may remember the kids who always seemed to have some sort of orthodontic device in their mouths. Whether it was a spacer, braces, or expander, some kids drew the short straw. If you were one of those kids, this blog is probably going to bring back some not-so-fond memories of brushing your teeth after every meal, drink, or tasty treat. While the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice per day for two minutes each time, there may be instances in which a dentist, or dental professional, recommends increasing the number of times you brush your teeth in a day. This recommendation could be due to childhood orthodontics, but it could also be due to a dental or gum disease that requires extra care.

Young Woman Brushing Teeth

There is debate among the general population about how often a person should brush in normal circumstances. Whether you are a person who hates the feeling of food remnants on their teeth and brushes 2,3, or even more times each day, or you are too busy to brush more than once a day, what is the correct answer? While we recommend talking with your dentist about what may be suitable for you and your dental health and hygiene, we want to provide you with some information about the subject.

It May Be Time for a New Toothbrush

Most dentists will agree that tooth decay, cavities, gum sensitivity, and even yellowing of the teeth are not necessarily due to how frequently, or infrequently, you brush. Instead, professionals blame the tools you are using to brush your teeth. If you can not remember the last time you looked at the bristles of your toothbrush or replaced it, for that matter, this blog is for you. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a manual or powered soft-bristled toothbrush. Nearly all toothbrush labeling will note the type of bristles on the packaging. So, when you go out shopping for your new toothbrush, look at the label. It is also essential to buy a professional-grade or dentist-recommended brand, as this will increase the longevity of your toothbrush’s life and increase the quality of your brushing!

Over time, the bristles on your toothbrush will begin to dull and become jagged, which can cause tooth damage! Dentists recommend replacing your brush every 3 to 4 months, as even a soft-bristled one can cause harm to your teeth and gums. Storage is also vital to lengthening the life of your toothbrush and the health of your gums. Leaving it in a sealed container can inhibit bacteria growth leading to gum disease and even illness when not noticed or remedied. Making sure to leave it upright in an open container, away from contaminants, is the best way to ensure your brush stays clean. Toothbrushes are relatively inexpensive, so make sure not to share yours with anyone– even a family member.

The ADA also suggests using fluoride toothpaste to decrease the instances of cavities and tooth decay. Most toothpaste brands have fluoride, but you can always double-check the ingredients at your local pharmacy or drugstore. Your dentist may be able to recommend one as well.

The Right Way to Brush

The saying “quality over quantity” is true when it comes to your dental hygiene. Practicing how you brush instead of how often can lead to tremendous improvement in tooth and gum health. However, even if you brush the recommended amount each day, it won’t amount to much if your technique is wrong. Here are some guidelines:

  • Start at the gum line. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush in short strokes or circles.
  • Brush gently. Even if you have a soft-bristled toothbrush, pushing too hard can cause damage to the tooth or gums and even cause the enamel to come off. It will also significantly shorten the life of your toothbrush.
  • Reach every part. The important thing is to make sure the bristles touch the entirety of each tooth. Dentists recommend flossing each day to get the harder-to-reach places and clean out any ‘gunk’ that the toothbrush might have missed.

Brushing your teeth more than the recommended amount is not necessarily the wrong choice, but it can be completely unnecessary if you use the right tools and techniques. The best way to know if you are brushing your teeth correctly is to follow up with your dentist. Any of our dental professionals at Central Park Modern Dentistry in Denver would be happy to help you. You can schedule an appointment with us here.