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Are You Brushing Too Hard?

Tooth brushing is good for you, so more tooth brushing can only be better, right? Wrong. Overbrushing can actually be detrimental to your dental health. If you're brushing too hard or too much, it could lead to increased tooth sensitivity and receding gums, the latter of which could require surgery.

To find out if you're brushing too hard, and for tips on how to stop,


If you go to the dentist for regular checkups, he or she will be able to tell you if you're overbrushing. But if you notice your gums pulling away from your teeth, exposing the root surfaces and causing sensitivity or bleeding, that could be a sign that you need to lighten up.

To alleviate the problem, make sure you are using a soft or extra soft toothbrush, and lightly grip the brush so it hits at a 45-degree angle. Also, electric toothbrushes are great for overbrushers, since they have two-minute timers and require no back-and-forth movement. So if you're scrubbing away, just remember to lighten up!

Have you ever been told by your dentist to lighten up? Share the details in the comments section below.


NCSUAaron NCSUAaron 4 years
A great way to make sure you don't brush too hard is to use the Toof-inger Brush, which counters the physical and mental tendencies to brush too hard!
wermfud wermfud 9 years
I always get told to lighten up. I use an electric toothbrush, but I'm so paranoid about getting a cavity or something that I usually go 2 cycles twice a day. What's hard is that the symptoms of over-brushing are almost identical to not brushing enough (the yuck mouth): receding gums, tooth pain and sensitivity, etc... but if your gums bleed with flossing or light brushing, you're not brushing enough.
mrskrismendoza mrskrismendoza 9 years
I had a dentist appointment/check up yesterday. My problem was I wasn't flossing correctly. :/
kelliegonzo kelliegonzo 9 years
hard bristle brushes should be taken off the market! gum recession is a huge problem and it weakens your delicate enamel as well. honestly ladies, stop brushing so hard :0 we all want a pretty smile right? not gummy yellowed chompers.
raieven raieven 9 years
Oh yes I have been having some pain recently-time to get a soft brush!
LJDP LJDP 9 years
My dentist said I needed to stop using the expensive Sonicare toothbrush I thought was making my teeth healthier and cleaner. Turns out it was basically blasting my gums off my teeth! Yikes! I'll take the $5.00 plastic brush over that $120 behemoth any day!
Buffy Buffy 9 years
Yes, you do need to be careful with how hard you're brushing. I'm a Hygienist and I see patients all the time with receding gums and tooth sensitivity around the gum line. Plaque is loosely adhered to teeth, so gentle brushing removes the film. Remember that brushing should take at least 2 minutes. Electric toothbrushes work best because people seem to brush longer with them and the motion of the bristles sweep away more plaque with less effort than a manual toothbrush. :D
emalove emalove 9 years
No, my dentist always says I do a good job brushing...I don't think I brush too hard at all.
7kimba7 7kimba7 9 years
My dentist told me to make sure I hold my tootbrush like a pencil to keep the pressure gentle (if you hold a pencil the "correct" way). I had been holding it like a joystick :(
ella1978 ella1978 9 years
Just an FYI for the first girl, if you gums are receeding on the outside of your teeth, it won't grow back. Only the gums on the roof or floor of your mouth regenerate. The teeth are held in place w/ membranes formed by the gums. Once those start to deteriorate/receed, it's time to have someone look at it. They won't come back naturally. My sister and my father both had the procedure done.
anna_muffin anna_muffin 9 years
I know that I brush too hard, and I even bought the softest toothbrush I could find (, but it didn't really stop me. I guess I'll just save for some good electric toothbrush.
swtsunkisses88 swtsunkisses88 9 years
my mom is a dental hygenist. some tips she gave me: avoid brushing teeth that are closed. open teeth and then brush the top and bottom seperately. Next, regular flossing helps prevent gums from bleeding when they are flossed. this is how my mom can tell if i floss regularly or not. Finally, when brushing, try not to brush back and forth, more in soft circles instead of linear motions.
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
Oops, I meant fitgirlFL, not fir!
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
firgirlFL, that sounds so painful! Thanks for the extra motivation. I definitely have the brushing too hard problem. Sometimes I get so overzealous with it that my arm hurts. I'm not exaggerating. I've had to switch to soft bristles. I've also been trying to get used to one of those battery operated brushes first, because my dentist wants me to switch to an electric one. Maybe I'll try the one that tells you you're pushing too hard. MandyJoBo, I had no idea there was one that did that. Thanks for mentioning it.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
I have the newest Sonicare toothbrush that I LOVE, but for rough brushers, there is a Braun or Oral B (I forgot which one) that makes an electric toothbrush that tells you if you're pushing too hard.
millarci millarci 9 years
I agree with ashcwebb. The soft brushes feel like they don't clean at all. Maybe I should invest in a electric toothbrush.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I like my hard toothbrush though...I wouldn't feel like my teeth were clean without it!
fitgirlFL fitgirlFL 9 years
I know about this firsthand - just had to have surgery because my gums were receeding. They had to take tissue from the roof of my mouth and transfer it to a few different spots along my gums. It wasn't pleasant and my insurance only covered a small part of it - leaving me with a hefty bill.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I have been told this, I have super thin enamel due to acidic saliva so I have to be very gentle while brushing.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I've never been told to calm down the brushing, but I definitely have receding gums. I'm sort of hoping that since I've lightened up my brushing technique they'll come back.
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