Woman brushing teeth with two toothbrushesIt’s hard to imagine brushing your teeth too often. For most people, brushing becomes an ingrained habit. You are taught as a child to brush your teeth after each meal and before going to bed. That’s four times a day. A little practical deduction might suggest, if brushing four times a day is good, why not five or six? Then my teeth will stay whiter, stronger and more attractive. Actually, you can over brush your teeth.

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth no more than two to three times a day. Brushing your teeth too often can wear down the enamel and irritate the gums. It can also expose the roots, making your teeth more susceptible to other problems. While the purpose of brushing your teeth is to rid them of the bacteria that build up in your mouth, it takes twelve hours for the bacteria to build enough to hurt your teeth. If you brush your teeth an average of two or three times a day, using a gentle circular motion to clean them, and floss afterward, you are providing the proper hygiene for healthy tooth care. Be sure to use a soft bristle brush to avoid abrasive action.

When Not to Brush Your Teeth

Acids have a tendency to corrode the enamel of your teeth, but your saliva is there to break down the corrosive effects of acid. If you brush your teeth directly after eating or drinking something acidic, you are actually brushing the acid into your teeth, making them more vulnerable. Wait at least an hour after eating or drinking something acidic like citrus fruits or soda to brush your teeth.

Also, beware that if you brush your teeth directly before eating or drinking something acidic, it can have the same effect. Brushing your teeth before eating or drinking something acidic leaves the enamel of your teeth more exposed to its abrasive effects.

I Carry My Toothbrush Everywhere So I Can Brush

If you are carrying your toothbrush with you so you can brush your teeth whenever you feel the need for it, you might wish to reconsider this practice. If you carry a toothbrush in your purse or pocket, you are exposing the bristles to bacteria. Even in a plastic bag, frequent brushing can carry the bacteria into the bag you are using, allowing bacteria to multiply. Whenever possible, leave your toothbrush at home, in a sanitized cup or container. When you are traveling, put your toothbrush in a sanitary container to keep it clean and safe from bacteria.

My Teeth Don’t Feel Clean Unless I Brush Them Frequently

Chances are, you like the fresh, sparkling taste after brushing your teeth, and feel it’s the only way to keep your mouth feeling clean, but frequent brushing is eventually going to damage your teeth and gums in the long run. For other options, chew a piece of sugar free gum or mint for that same fresh feeling between brushing.