At Garbis Dental Associates of Columbia, we understand the importance of maintaining excellent oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day is a good habit that removes plaque and helps prevent tooth decay. You might even brush after meals to keep your smile fresh. However, you might wonder, “Can you brush your teeth too much?” Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Overbrushing can actually harm your dental health.

What Is Overbrushing?

Overbrushing refers to both the frequency and the technique of your brushing. If you brush too vigorously or obsessively, you risk causing dental abrasion, tooth sensitivity, and gum recession.


Dental abrasion occurs when the tooth structure is worn away by mechanical forces, such as enthusiastic brushing. The University of Southern California Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry describes it as the loss of enamel, dentin, and cementum due to excessive brushing. Signs of abrasion include shiny, yellow, or brown spots near the gum line and V-shaped indentations.

Tooth Sensitivity

When enamel is worn away, the dentin layer underneath becomes exposed, leading to sensitivity. This can cause discomfort or pain when your teeth encounter hot, cold, sweet, or sour stimuli.

Gum Recession

Improper brushing techniques can cause your gums to recede, exposing the softer cementum of the tooth root. This not only increases sensitivity and pain but also makes the area more susceptible to decay.

Protecting Your Teeth After Overbrushing

If overbrushing has led to dental abrasion or gum recession, it’s crucial to seek treatment to prevent further damage. At Garbis Dental Associates of Columbia, we offer various treatments depending on the severity of the issue:

  • Fluoride Varnish: Strengthens the tooth surface.
  • Bonding: A tooth-colored filling covers the abraded area.
  • Veneers: Protect and cover exposed areas.
  • Gum Grafting: In severe cases, we may recommend gum grafting to replace missing tissue and protect the cementum.

Preventing Overbrushing

Preventing overbrushing is simple with the right tools and techniques:

  • Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush: Stiff bristles can increase the risk of abrasion and recession.
  • Choose the Right Toothpaste: Avoid highly abrasive toothpastes and opt for those containing calcium and fluoride.
  • Correct Brushing Technique: Use gentle, circular motions at a 45-degree angle to your gum line. Avoid excessive pressure that flattens and frays bristles.
  • Wait After Eating: Brush at least 60 minutes after eating, especially acidic foods, to prevent enamel damage.
  • Avoid Harmful Habits: Don’t use your teeth as tools, such as for opening bottles, holding pins, or biting nails. These actions can also cause abrasion and breakage.

Achieving a Perfect Smile

A perfect smile isn’t about overbrushing. It’s about using the right tools and techniques to maintain clean teeth and a healthy mouth. For personalized advice and treatment, contact Garbis Dental Associates of Columbia today to schedule an appointment.

For more information or to book an appointment with a our dentist in Columbia, visit our website or call our office. We are here to help you achieve optimal dental health!

Garbis Dental Associates of Columbia
Phone: (410) 730-3800
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10203 Tanager Lane
Columbia, MD 21044