Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

toothpaste and kids toothbrushes

Many parents deal with the issue of having children that don’t remember to brush their teeth. This is quite common, and there’s a myriad of ways you can help your child achieve improved pediatric oral care through better brushing. However, there’s another problem that’s little discussed but can be an issue nonetheless. Did you know there are children who may brush their teeth too much?

The Problem of Brushing Teeth Too Much

On the surface, you may wonder how children brushing their teeth too often could possibly be a problem. Many parents would be thrilled if their child would willingly brush their teeth several times a day without being prompted. However, just as there are real problems when children brush their teeth too little, serious consequences can arise when they brush teeth too much. The symptoms just look different.?

When a child doesn’t brush their teeth frequently enough, or when they use the wrong technique, food particles and plaque can begin to build up in the crevices of the gums and in the pits of the teeth. Over time, this can cause tooth decay, which becomes cavities. When a child brushes their teeth too much, they won’t deal with these types of issues. Instead, they run the risk of causing damage to their teeth and gums from their constant cleaning.?

How can a child damage their mouth in this way? Repetitive brushing, often called “overbrushing,” can lead to damage to the enamel. This may seem odd to most people because enamel is the hardest substance in the body. However, enamel damage through overbrushing is a real problem. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported that between 10 and 20 percent of those who brush their teeth may actually be overbrushing.?

There are several dangerous issues that can arise from brushing your teeth too much:?

  • Tooth sensitivity: By wearing away the enamel, the teeth can become more susceptible to hot and cold over time, causing discomfort to the child.
  • Gum recession: The excessive brush strokes from brushing teeth too much do not only take a toll on the teeth, but they also harm the soft gums below. Over time, overbrushing can cause the gums to recede, exposing too much of the tooth.
  • Nerve exposure: In more extreme cases, as gums recede, the roots inside of the gums can become exposed. This can cause significant pain as the nerves shoot with pain each time they are jostled.

These problems can be easily avoided by brushing the proper amount while using the proper form.

Who Is at Risk?

There are several groups of young people who can be at risk of brushing teeth too much:

  • Teenagers: Teenagers are undergoing a transitional phase in their body, and many of them may feel self-conscious about their teeth. They may not like their smile, or they may think their teeth are yellow. These teens may overbrush in an attempt to give themselves a smile they will be happier with.
  • Those with braces: When a child (or adult for that matter) has braces, they must be diligent to ensure that food particles do not stick in the wires and brackets on their teeth. However, they must also be careful that they don’t overzealously brush in an attempt to keep their braces clear of debris.
  • Those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Children who suffer from OCD may find difficulty in maintaining the correct balance in brushing for optimal oral health. In these situations, you’d be best to consult with your pediatric dentist, who has experience in counseling parents of children with special needs. They have the training to help give you the tools you need to lovingly assist your child.

To ensure that your child doesn’t brush their teeth too much, periodically check in on them while they are brushing. Take note of the frequency of their brushing, as well as the length of time it takes them to brush.?

Brush Teeth Using the Recommended Guidelines

The best way to ensure that a child doesn’t brush teeth too much is to train them in the proper methods of brushing teeth. Consider these guidelines recommended by the American Dental Association😕

  • Make sure your child brushes their teeth twice a day. Two minutes of brushing per session are sufficient to ensure that their teeth have been cleaned properly.
  • Verify that your child is using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing with medium- or hard- bristled brush is unnecessary and may cause tooth and gum damage in the hands of a vigorous brusher.
  • Give your child a fluoride toothpaste to use for brushing their teeth. As they brush, the handle should be tilted at a 45-degree angle to ensure the optimal contact between brush and tooth.
  • Check to make sure they are not pressing the brush down too hard on the teeth. To get the cleanest teeth, a person doesn’t need a great deal of pressure. Rather, they simply need to take their time and be thorough as they brush.
  • Consider dental sealants for your child. Although the ADA already recommends them for children, they are particularly helpful for children who brush teeth too hard. The hard plastic coating will protect enamel, giving you an additional layer of defense.

toothbrush and dentist tools

Toothfairy Pediatric Dental Can Help

Are you concerned that your child is brushing their teeth too hard? Bring them to one of our five Toothfairy Pediatric Dental locations so we can give them a full oral exam. We’ll be able to accurately assess if there’s been any damage, and we can put together a plan to help if there has been.?

Your child will immediately feel comfortable in the fun, inviting environment we’ve created at Toothfairy Pediatric Dental. Our first priority is making sure your child is well taken care of and that they feel relaxed when they sit in the dental chair. Our bilingual staff will answer any questions you have, including concerns about dental insurance and payments.?

Contact our team today and let us help your child ensure they don’t brush their teeth too hard.?