Dental News

When Brushing Is Bad

February 26, 2014

It isn’t enough to just brush—you also need to brush right

When Brushing Is BadWe all know we’re supposed to brush our teeth often—ideally after every meal, or at least twice per day. However, there are some situations in which brushing your teeth can actually do more harm than good. Here are three examples that show why it’s important to think carefully about how and when we brush our teeth.

Brushing Can Be Bad…

When You Have an Old Toothbrush

Best case scenario, brushing with an old toothbrush is just a wasted effort. An old, worn toothbrush with frayed bristles pointing every which way simply won’t get into spaces between teeth or under the gum line like it should, hampering your efforts to remove food bits and plaque from your teeth. Worst case scenario, you may actually be exposing yourself to reinfection with certain oral viruses or fungi by using an old toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or earlier if it appears worn.

When You Brush Too Hard

Brushing your teeth too hard and/or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can actually wear down your tooth enamel and irritate your gums. It’s better to brush softly but with quick, vigorous strokes than it is to attack your teeth with the toothbrush like you’re scrubbing the kitchen floor. If you are already prone to tooth decay or are suffering from enamel erosion, you need to be especially mindful of how hard you brush.

When You Brush Too Soon

Over time, highly acidic foods and beverages such as sodas and citrus fruits can do a lot of damage to your teeth. Acid erodes the surface of teeth, leaving them brittle, sensitive, and more susceptible to tooth decay. You might think it makes sense to brush your teeth as soon as possible after consuming something acidic in order to get that harmful acid out of your mouth. In reality, brushing too soon can actually push acids deeper into the surface enamel of your teeth, resulting in more damage. Experts recommend rinsing your mouth with water immediately after eating or drinking something acidic in order to restore a normal pH level in the mouth, but don’t brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes.


If you have questions about how to care for your teeth, including what kind of toothbrush to buy, how to use proper brushing technique, or how to care for dental work, just ask a friendly and knowledgeable dentist from California Dental Group.

Read Our Reviews