Are your brushing techniques hurting your teeth?

| April 8, 2013

DO YOU EXPERIENCE sudden, sharp pain sometimes when you drink a glass of ice water, eat ice cream, or sip hot coffee? You’re not alone. One in eight adults experiences tooth sensitivity—the kind of sensitivity that isn’t due to a problem such as a cavity. So what’s causing it? Surprisingly, one of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity is brushing with too much force.

 How Could Brushing Hurt?

Over brushing is problematic because it wears down the protective layers of your tooth enamel. It can also push back your gums, exposing the dentin layer under the enamel even more. This dentin layer has microscopic tubes or canals that lead to your tooth’s nerves. If these tubes are exposed to hot, cold, or even acidic foods it can lead to discomfort and tooth sensitivity.

 Tips For Better Brushing:

    • Watch which direction bristles face when you brush. They should be perpendicular, not parallel.
    • Hold your toothbrush loosely, like a pencil.
    • Use soft, round motions to brush. Don’t saw back and forth.
    • Use soft or extra-soft bristled brushes. Brush softly! Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against your gums.

 Put In The Time

When it comes to cleaning teeth, elbow grease doesn’t do the trick. Consider this mantra: brush smarter, not harder. When regularly brushing, the plaque you’re trying to get rid of is fairly soft and can easily be brushed away with a soft brush.

During the two minutes you’re brushing it’s good to be thorough, but there’s no need to scrub the same areas over and over again.


Are you experiencing tooth sensitivity? Over brushing isn’t the only possible cause. You may want to request an appointment so we can talk about your symptoms and determine the reason for your pain

You can also leave a question below, or you can ask a private question using our Ask the doctor feature

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Founded in 1978, Grandview Dental Care is a leading Columbus Ohio dentist offering a wide range of general and cosmetic dental services in the Columbus area including: Invisalign, dental implants, IV sedation dentistry, and veneers Grandview Dental Care is conveniently located at 1220 Grandview Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, 43212 in Grandview Heights, near Marble Cliff, Upper Arlington, The Ohio State University campus, and downtown Columbus.