Tough Brushing Tortures Teeth

Most dentists don’t go a day without seeing patients who are damaging their teeth and gums by brushing too hard. Some report that as many as two out of three patients brush their teeth too hard. This is a problem. The combination of a stiff-bristled toothbrush and overly enthusiastic brushing can cause serious dental problems over time, including gum disease and tooth sensitivity.

People think that if they brush twice as hard, they will do twice as much good. Wrong! In fact, overzealous brushing can cause a great amount of damage to the periodontal tissues and bones that support the teeth. If you used the same amount of force and brush the side of your arm, you could take your skin off.

One way to avoid damaging your teeth and gums is to purchase a “soft” toothbrush. These brushes feature rounded bristles, which are much less abrasive to teeth. You should hold the brush between the thumb and forefinger, not with the fist. Also, when brushing, do not `scrub’ your teeth with a horizontal, back-and-forth motion. Instead, start at the gum line and angle the brush at a 45-degree angle. Brush both the teeth and the gums at the same time. Push hard enough to get the bristles under the gum-line but not so hard that the bristles flare out.

As dental care providers, we want people to brush longer, not harder. Children and adults tend to spend less than one minute at a time brushing their teeth, even though removing plaque from the mouth requires at least two to five minutes of brushing at least twice a day. Remember: brush longer, not harder.

Need help your brushing habits? Using an electric toothbrush can help break bad habits and provide you with the tools necessary to reach optimal oral health. Give us a call to ask about our electric toothbrush specials! If you have any questions, be sure to give us a call at (303) 399-0400 or visit our website at