Although plaque is a pesky substance that needs to be removed regularly from teeth, it’s
actually quite easy to remove. In fact, some plaque can even be removed with a cloth! When
you consider this, harsh brushing doesn’t seem all that necessary for your smile.
In fact, aggressive tooth brushing can harm your teeth more than help. When you brush your
teeth too hard, you can actually wear away enamel over time, leading to a variety of oral health
problems. Here are a few signs and symptoms you need to be a little gentler on your pearly
Tooth sensitivity is no fun. Some people have such extreme sensitivity that only room
temperature foods and drinks are comfortable to consume. Tooth sensitivity can result from
enamel loss, which can happen through harsh or aggressive brushing.
Whether you have sensitive teeth already or you’re just noticing that eating ice cream or
drinking hot tea has become somewhat painful, this could be a symptom that your harsh
brushing is wearing away your tooth enamel.
Unfortunately, once tooth enamel is gone, it can’t be replaced, although sensitive teeth can be
treated with the right oral care habits and help from your dentist.
Aggressive brushing can wear away enamel even over a short period of time. For some people,
their enamel is worn away after years of harsh brushing with a firm-bristled toothbrush. For
others, aggressive brushing immediately after a meal or drinking beverages such as soda or
juice can remove enamel.
Your dentist will be able to see if you’re missing enamel in places on your teeth. Remember
that enamel is the hard, shiny, protective layer over the softer tissues of your teeth. Without
enamel, our teeth are more prone to sensitivity, cavities, and discoloration. Regular visits to
your dentist and healthy eating can help keep tooth decay away even if you’re experiencing
Gum recession is a common sign of gum disease—this happens when the gums slowly begin to
pull back from the teeth. You may see areas where the gum does not reach the tooth and
instead a brownish area remains. Gum recession can eventually expose tooth roots and lead to
painful sensitivity and even tooth loss.
However, gum recession can also happen as the result of aggressive brushing. Your gum tissue
needs to be brushed as well, but gentle brushing maneuvers will do the trick. Brushing harshly
could aggravate existing gum recession and cause gum tissue to recede further, resulting in
increased damage and sensitivity in your mouth.
If you’re experiencing signs of gum recession such as sensitivity or teeth having a longer-looking
appearance, you may be seeing a sign of gum disease and you could be worsening the condition
through harsh brushing.
Are you experiencing any of these signs and symptoms that you’re aggressively brushing your
teeth? See your dentist to determine what’s causing your symptoms and in the meantime,
invest in a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush your teeth. Remember that the quality of
brushing rather than the force is what’s important!