It is well known that brushing your teeth regularly is the key to maintaining healthy teeth, but dentists have warned patients not to overdo it. “Toothbrush abrasion” is a condition that comes from over-brushing, and can lead to receding gums and sensitive teeth.
Patient showing signs of over-brushing on the upper left side. Image courtesy of Dentagma.
Applying too much pressure when you brush not only wears down the enamel of your teeth, but can also damage the gums which can lead to it receding and exposing the vulnerable root area. Not only do receding gums make your teeth look longer, but it can also lead to gum disease and cavities on the roots of the teeth. Treatments such as composite fillings, root canals or an extraction may become unavoidable if you continue to brush your teeth aggressively.
Patients who are at the greatest risk of tooth and gum damage from over-brushing are those who brush with a hard-bristled brush, or those who brush more than three times a day. You don’t actually need to brush harshly to remove plaque! In order to clean your teeth effectively, it is more productive to brush thoroughly rather than brushing harder.