• How Long Are You Supposed to Brush Your Teeth?

  • You just woke up. The sun has barely begun to shine. You make your way to the bathroom to brush your teeth. After loading up your toothbrush you get to work going back and forth over your teeth – front, back, sides, repeat. But how long do you really stand there brushing your teeth? 30 seconds? One minute? Five?!

    The tooth of the matter – I mean ‘truth’ – is that you should be brushing for two whole minutes. This is the amount of time the American Dental Associations agrees will get your teeth the cleanest. No need to over do it and brush for five minutes. In fact, over brushing can cause its fair share of damage as well. 

    Dangers of Over Brushing

    When you brush for too long or too hard you can wear away your gum line. This will in turn expose more of your teeth making them more susceptible to gingivitis and cavities. And the less gum tissue there to hold on to your teeth means your teeth may become looser allowing for more space between them to harbor bacteria and decay. 

    As they say on the commercials, if there is pink in the sink after brushing, you may have a problem. Make sure your toothbrush is not too firm and that you do not press too hard as you brush. Don’t take your anger out on your teeth! Brushing too hard or for too long can result in tearing and make your gums bleed. Please let us know if this is happening when you brush – even if you don’t think you are over brushing. You may have extra sensitive gums or another underlying issue that we will want to take a closer look at during your exam. 

    Dangers of Brushing Too Little

    Brushing too little may result in bacteria being left on your teeth for much too long. It’s like running a wet rag over your dirty car. You moved some of the dirt, but it’s not all off. You need to gently clean for the appropriate amount of time. 

    Many electric toothbrushes have an automatic shutoff feature so you do not over brush. It’s great because you don’t have to look at a clock or set a timer every time you brush. Simply start your toothbrush and keep brushing – front, back, sides, etc. – until it stops. That’s it! So easy. 

    Bad Brushing Leads to Bad Breath

    Both over and under brushing can lead to bad breath. Image, you brush hard and for a long time to get your pearly whites extra clean and free of debris. While your teeth might be spotless, you may tear your gum tissue resulting in bleeding. And a mouth full of blood – even if it is diluted by saliva – does not smell great. This also goes for brushing in the evening. If you brush too much and make your gums bleed you will sleep with a mouth full of broken tissue particles and blood resulting in some nasty morning breath. 

    As for underbrushing, as you may have already guessed, it leads to bad breath from all the bacteria and particles that are left on your teeth and decay over time. While just a little bit of bacteria might not seem like a big deal, it adds up and even multiples in your mouth! It’s best to do a thorough, but not too aggressive, brushing. 

    Next time you grab your toothbrush and toothpaste, remember, twice a day for two minutes is what we recommend to keep your teeth healthy and clean!