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Is there such a thing as Over-Brushing Teeth?

What is Over-Brushing?

Over-brushing can include brushing the teeth too hard, too frequently, or for too long which can cause pain and also damage the tooth structure. Some of the effects of over-brushing teeth are as follows:

  • It can cause tooth abrasion, the wearing away of the tooth structure, which will make the teeth more sensitive and more susceptible to decay. 
  • It can weaken the teeth as you’re wearing away the outer tooth structure. 
  • It can expose more of the inner-tooth structure, known as the dentin, which is a naturally darker and a more yellow tooth structure. 
  • It can cause the gums to recede which will expose the softer and more sensitive part of the tooth.


To avoid over-brushing and the associated damage that comes with it, you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. It is recommended that you use an ADA approved soft toothbrush or ADA approved electric toothbrush and ADA approved toothpaste. You can view the list of all ADA approved products here. Lastly, you should follow proper brushing techniques:

  • Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the gums and teeth meet.
  • Use small circular motions to gently brush the gum line and teeth.
  • Do not scrub or apply too much pressure to the teeth, as this can damage the gums and tooth enamel.
  • Brush every surface of every tooth, cheek-side, tongue-side, and chewing surfaces. Place special emphasis on the surfaces of the back teeth.
  • Use back and forth strokes to brush the chewing surfaces.
  • Brush the tongue to remove bacteria, food and debris.


Typically, fixing brushing patterns will prevent damage to the teeth. In some cases, a dental professional will need to be consulted in order to help repair the teeth. If you believe you have been over-brushing your teeth, contact your dental professional and they can help you explore your options and find the best treatment option for you! If you would like to set up a consultation with Dr. Laura Kearney you can request an appointment online or contact the office at 919-847-3899! 

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