Regular brushing is important to maintain healthy teeth and gums. But be wary of brushing too hard as that action can actually do more damage than good. Known as “toothbrush abrasion”, brushing too hard or forcefully can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums. The people most at risk for tooth or gum damage from over-brushing may have a predisposition to receding gums, may clench or grind their teeth, or have a history of orthodontics. Usually by changing brushing habits, the problem can be stopped from getting worse. Dr. James Reisman and Dr. Jordana Contrucci offer some suggestions on identifying signs of aggressive brushing:
1. Sensitive Teeth
This can be caused when enamel is too thin, making eating and drinking anything outside of room temperature uncomfortable.

2. Enamel Erosion

Brushing too vigorously can erode the hard protective layer on the teeth. Don’t brush too soon after eating or drinking and use a soft bristled toothbrush. Once enamel is worn away it cannot be replaced, and can lead to tooth discoloration and decay.

3. Receding Gums

Although a common sign of gum disease, it can also result from brushing too harshly. Your gum tissue needs to be brushed, but gentle brushing maneuvers is all that is necessary. Over doing it can cause painful sensitivity, exposed roots, even tooth loss.

Brushing, It’s Easier Than You Think

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.


At C R Dental Group patients are educated in proper brushing technique and encouraged to visit the dentist at least twice a year. Always discuss with your dentist and hygienist any concerns you may have. By addressing issues early on, bigger, and more costly, complications can be diverted. Be kind to your smile, it’s the only one you have!