Three Signs You May Be Brushing Too Much

Posted on: 4 November 2015

When you visit your dentist for a cleaning, you may hear the advice to brush your teeth after every meal, or at least twice per day, and for two minutes each time. But not everyone is the same, so a standardized brushing schedule may or may not work for you. For example, if you have braces you must brush every time you eat, because braces can trap food and hold it against your teeth. But if you don't have braces and your gums are very sensitive, brushing for two minutes every time you eat may actually be a bad idea. Here are three signs that you may be actually brushing your teeth too hard and/or too frequently.

1. Gum damage

If your gums have recently begun bleeding frequently during your normal brushing sessions, it could be a sign of gum disease such as gingivitis. However, if you've recently lengthened your brushing time or started using a different kind of toothbrush, the change in routine could be causing distress to your healthy but sensitive gums. You can try a softer toothbrush or decrease brushing time slightly to cater to your delicate gums. If normal gum sensitivity is the cause of bleeding and soreness, it should diminish within a few days or a week. If it doesn't, you should consult your dentist about the possibility of gum disease.

2. Receding gumline

Determined and vigorous brushing sometimes has the capability to cause your gumlines to recede. This is another symptom that can mean one of two opposite things: you could be brushing your teeth too hard or you could be experiencing gum disease caused by neglect. Analyze your brushing habits to determine which is most likely. Do you brush your teeth thoroughly at least once per day? If not, you may have put yourself at risk for gum disease. Ask your dentist if gum disease is likely in your situation or if the problem could be caused by excessive brushing habits.

3. Enamel damage 

Again, this is a symptom that's only likely to be caused by large amounts of vigorous brushing. Since you know your own dental habits better than anyone else does, you should use your discretion to decide if your cleaning habits lack moderation. If you do notice that your enamel is wearing away, you should visit the dentist no matter what the probable cause. This condition can expose the roots of your teeth, causing sensitivity and pain.

Use these signs and your own analysis of your brushing habits to determine whether any symptoms you notice may be caused by overbrushing. If you think they are, cut back on your brushing vigor for a few days to see if the symptoms subside. Then visit your dentist for a professional opinion on the problem or any additional dental services.