Stop Overbrushing. It’s Hurting Your Gums

girl overbrushing

Regular brushing is absolutely vital for keeping your teeth and gums in check, but dental experts warn that you can definitely have too much of a good thing. 

Overbrushing, or “toothbrush abrasion” as dentists call it, can not only wear down tooth enamel but can cause gums to become sore, inflamed and in many cases may lead to gum recession

According to the Wall Street Journal, dentists estimate that between 10 – 20 percent of the country’s population have damaged their teeth or gums as a result of overbrushing.

We get it; brushing as often as possible in a vigorous fashion seems like the right thing to do to get rid of plaque. But as dental expert, Dr. Kevin Sheu DDS points out:

“Plaque is so soft that you could remove it with a rag if you could reach all the surfaces where it hides. Thoroughness is what is required for plaque removal, not aggressive brushing. You’re not going to achieve any extra benefit by brushing hard.”


A major reason teeth and gums can be damaged while brushing is what people are brushing with.  Toothpaste unnecessarily contains abrasives (such as calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts or silicates).  These abrasives are rough enough to remove the sticky plaque when a toothbrush pushes the abrasive toothpaste slurry against the teeth and gums.  But the abrasives can also easily scratch the enamel and irritate the gums.

Toothpaste is much more abrasive than a bare toothbrush.  Scientists measure abrasiveness by an RDA value (Relative Dentin Abrasivity).  Highly abrasive toothpaste has an RDA value over 150; the RDA of low abrasive toothpaste is below 70; medium abrasive toothpaste has a value between 70 and 150.  A bare toothbrush without toothpaste has an RDA value of only 4, so by far, the damage is due more to toothpaste than to the brush itself.  Instead of relying on abrasives, if people could brush with something that contains an herb that loosens the stickiness of plaque-forming bacteria, then the plaque could easily be removed by the action of brushing without requiring any damaging abrasives. 

Good-Gums all-natural tooth & gum formula is unique in having that herbal ingredient: cranberry.  Most people already know that drinking cranberry juice helps them get over a urinary tract infection faster.  That’s because cranberry loosens the grip of the bacteria in the urinary tract, so it can be flushed out.  The same cranberry action also loosens the grip of plaque bacteria as well.

But whether brushing with toothpaste or with Good-Gums, the technique of brushing can increase or decrease the damage inflicted by brushing and can also affect the effectiveness of brushing.  So let’s take a look at how to do it right.

Easy does it

What’s so hard about brushing your teeth? It seems like a no-brainer, right?

But is there a right way and a wrong way to brush your teeth? 

Yes, it appears so. 

What’s important when it comes to brushing your teeth is not how long or hard you scrub, but how thorough your technique is. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for approximately two minutes every morning and night.

Take a look at the following guidelines to help you perfect your brushing technique in a way that your teeth and gums will love: 

girl brushing her teeth overbrushing

The right way to brush your teeth

First off, you need the right equipment! Be sure to use an extra soft bristled toothbrush that’s gentle on tooth enamel and gums while wiping away stains and excess debris. 

  • Place the bristles of your toothbrush on the gum line at a 45-degree angle.
  • Using light pressure, move the toothbrush back and forth in circular strokes, gently brushing the surface of each tooth. Be careful not to saw back and forth across the teeth with your toothbrush.
  • Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums. If you are squashing the bristles, you’re brushing too hard. 
  •  A good way to avoid overbrushing is to use an electric toothbrush, which typically comes with extra soft bristles.
  • Remember to top off your routine with flossing and a tongue scrape.

Overbrushing will not give you the result you want. With the right toothbrush and a proper brushing technique, your teeth and gums will surely thank you.

Remember, less is more!

Use brushing your teeth as a mindfulness practice

Toothbrushing is a bit of a chore, we know. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be a wonderful chance for your brain to rest as you become very present with each gentle brush stroke. Feel gratitude for your teeth as you brush. Without them, we couldn’t talk, chew, eat, or smile. We owe a lot to our trusty, little gnashers. 

And who knows, you may even begin to look forward to your two-minute teeth brushing routine, especially with Good-Gums, that removes plaque effectively without either relying on or containing abrasives.

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