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How much brushing is too much brushing?


Sources say that 10-20% of the US population are estimated to have damaged tooth enamel caused by over brushing. But why is this? Why is it so high and how do we know if we are in that group?

Well answer the following questions.

  • How often do you brush?

  • How long do you brush?

  • How do you brush?

Let's go in order.



Most if not all dental professionals in the US and Mexico recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day In the morning when you wake up (to remove bacteria and plaque that has built up as you slept). And before you go to bed, to brush off pieces of food that have accumulated on your teeth. In some countries it is sometimes suggested that you brush your teeth after every meal, or at least 3 times a day but this isn't always necessary or recommended. For example, if you have eaten foods or drinks that are very acidic (lemons, oranges, salsas, spicy food, etc.) you could cause extra damage to your teeth as acidic foods and drinks soften your teeth and you could seriously damage them.


3 minutes? 2 minutes? These are the recommended amount of time that you should brush your teeth. Most US dentists recommend no more than 3 minutes per brushing session, any more than that and you can start to wear down the enamel of your teeth and this can cause sensitivity. Or you could cause abrasion to your gums and cause them to bleed.


Chances are, you are brushing too hard. Brushing is only needed to remove plaque and food particles from your teeth and that doesn't need a heavy hand. Many of us don't pay attention when we are brushing our teeth or are looking at something else. So it is necessary for us to be conscious of what we are doing when we are brushing our teeth and practice, proper brushing techniques.

A good technique to restart your brushing, is to brush with your non-dominant hand. Learn to brush all over again and you might see a significant difference in the health of your teeth and gums.

After all these questions have been answered, it is only a matter of time before you can decide if you are brushing too hard or not. Proper brushing doesn't mean making your gums bleed. The last thing you want is to end up with a tooth brush that looks like this.

Bristles bent due to over brushing
The bristles on these brushes have been bent due to hard brushing. If your tooth brushes look like this, please head to your dentist.

And remember, it is always advisable to replace your tooth brush every 3-5 months. (depending on how sanitary you keep it). But that's a topic for another day.

Thank you for reading and here's to good Oral health.

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