Like most people, your parents or dentist may have told you to brush your teeth no less than twice per day for 2 minutes each time. However, if you had the misfortune of needing braces or other orthodontic devices, your dentist might have advised you to brush after every sugary drink and after every meal. You may even be the type of person that is sensitive to the feeling of ‘gunk’ on your teeth and has chosen to brush more than the recommended amount.
There is information out there that suggests brushing too often can be damaging to your teeth. Some people even recommend limiting your brushing to once a day. So, what is the correct answer? While we encourage you to discuss your oral routine with your dentist, we want to clarify this topic a bit.
Invest in the Right Tools for Oral Health
Tooth damage typically happens because of using the wrong tools or techniques. If you have your toothbrush handy, check the hardness of your bristles. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a manual or powered soft-bristled toothbrush. If you cannot remember what level of softness your toothbrush is, this is an excellent opportunity to buy a new one. When shopping for a toothbrush, recognize that they are not all created equal. Splurging on a professional-grade or dentist-recommended toothbrush will not only increase the longevity of your toothbrush’s life, but it will also increase the quality of your brushing!
Dentists suggest replacing your brush every 3 to 4 months, as bristles will begin to wear, fray, and become jagged. An old toothbrush, even a soft-bristled one, can cause damage to your teeth and gums. When not using your toothbrush, placing it upright in a clean container will allow the bristles to air dry. Leaving it in a moist or airtight container can allow bacteria to grow, leading to gum infections or illness. It is also important not to share your toothbrush with anyone, even a household family member.
The ADA also suggests using fluoride toothpaste to decrease the instances of cavities and tooth decay. Most toothpaste brands have fluoride, but you can always double-check the ingredients when you are at your local pharmacy or drugstore. Your dentist may be able to recommend one as well.
Quality of the Brushing
The saying “quality over quantity” is true when it comes to your dental hygiene. Having a healthy mouth comes down to how well you brush and not necessarily how often. Dental professionals still recommend brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, but that won’t matter if you don’t use the proper technique at the sink.
Dentists recommend starting your toothbrushing routine at the gumline. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush in short strokes with gentle pressure or small circles. The important thing is to make sure the bristles touch every part of each tooth. Pressing too hard can cause the enamel to come off and the teeth to become damaged. It also shortens the life of your toothbrush!
So, can you brush your teeth too much? When everything is said and done, it comes down to what your dentist recommends for your dental plan. While brushing more than two times each day is not necessarily the worst choice in oral hygiene, there may be circumstances when it will do more harm than good. Remember, it’s all about how you brush and not how often.