Harmful Effects of Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

There is a right and wrong way to brush your teeth. If you’re brushing too hard or using incorrect brushing techniques, you may cause damage to your teeth and gums. 

Hard Brushing Causes Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are among the most common issues plaguing adults, with 1 in 8 people reporting ongoing sensitivity. 

If you can’t enjoy an ice cream cone or a hot cup of tea without cringing as zings and jolts of pain shoot through your mouth, you have sensitive teeth. This condition is officially known as “dentin hypersensitivity” and develops for a number of reasons, especially brushing too hard. 

Brushing too hard wears away your gum tissue and tooth enamel. Imagine using a sponge to scrub away a coating of grime on a kitchen plate; you have to scrub with force to remove the grime. That’s exactly what happens to your enamel and gum tissue when you brush aggressively or use a hard-bristled toothbrush. 

The Consequences of Brushing Too Hard

Without enamel and gum tissue to provide adequate protection, your tooth roots can become exposed. Every time a food, beverage, or gust of air touches those roots, you experience zings of sensitivity.

Many children and adults prefer electric toothbrushes because they make them easier to brush effectively. This is especially true for people with arthritis or other conditions that make it difficult to perform the back-and-forth brushing action for two minutes. 

Recent research also suggests that electric toothbrushes clean the teeth and gums better than manual toothbrushes. One study performed over the span of 11 years concluded that regular use of an electric toothbrush resulted in 22% less gum recession and 18% less tooth decay.

Learn How To Brush the Right Way

Your dentist can help you treat existing sensitivity, and you can prevent worse sensitivity and gum erosion from developing by learning how to brush properly. Use these tips to improve your brushing habits and protect your smile:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that is gentle on your gums.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle so that the bristles can clean under the gums.
  • Move the brush back and forth gently without applying any extra force.
  • Go slow and spend 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth.

Call (727) 548-7100 to schedule an appointment at Piper Family Dentistry in Largo, Florida. Dr. David Piper and his team can help you combat tooth sensitivity and repair the damage caused by years of hard brushing.


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Dr. Piper and staff are always very professional, I have been a patient for over 15 years, and happy about it. Just got my teeth cleaned and checked recently, Sandra is friendly and thorough, and the office felt very clean which is important.
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Thank you Sandra, for my teeth cleaning....I had a great experience, I do love getting my teeth cleaned! Piper Family Dentistry rocks...😁.
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