Overbrushing: Is it Too Much of a Good thing?

Brushing your teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes at a time, has become the accepted standard. You probably already know that brushing removes some of the bacteria and the buildup of plague, these can both lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

In fact, gum disease and other oral health issues have actually been linked with other diseases through your body, such as an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, or even Alzheimer’s.

It, therefore, makes sense to brush as often as possible. But, is it possible to brush too often or too hard?

Brushing Too Hard

If you brush too hard you’re likely to damage the gums as you brush. This can lead to openings which will allow bacteria in, these bacteria can enter your bloodstream and cause the diseases mentioned above.

Receding gums will also expose more of your teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay. If you brush hard enough for an extended period of time then you may even start to damage the enamel. This can cause the discoloration of your teeth and even result in the need for dental veneers.

If you brush too hard then try holding your toothbrush with just your index finger and your thumb; it will reduce the pressure on your teeth.

Brushing Too Often

Something else that people do, with the intent of keeping their mouths clean, is to brush for much longer than necessary and more often than they need to.

The process of plaque buildup and tooth decay is a chemical reaction between the bacteria in your mouth and the sugar you eat. It takes approximately 12 hours for the reaction to complete and the acid to start attacking the enamel.

For this reason, you should brush in the morning and evening, although it is not necessary to brush during the day as well. It really can be a case of overbrushing is not a good thing.


It is important to use a fluoride-based toothpaste as this will help to strengthen the enamel on your teeth. You can purchase an array of toothpaste that is designed to strengthen teeth, reduce plaque, and do 100 other things. However, as long as you brush regularly there isn’t a huge difference in the types of toothpaste.

What’s important is that you’re brushing them regularly.


It is a good idea to floss every day as this removes debris from between your teeth. However, this is something that only needs to be done twice a day and you should be careful to complete the process gently. If you don’t you’re likely to cut your gums, which will increase the opportunity for infection to get into your body.

In short, it is possible to brush too often and too hard. Stick to brushing thoroughly every morning and evening. Simply brushing for 2-3 minutes and having 1-2 check-ups a year with your dentist should be enough to keep your teeth healthy long into old age.