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How Often Do I Really Need to Brush My Teeth?
June 4, 2018

Young pretty woman brushing teeth in front of the mirror

You’ve probably been hearing the phrase “twice a day for a full two minutes” for most of your life when it comes to how long and how often you should be brushing your pearly whites. But other factors can lead to the need for you to brush more often than the American Dental Association generally recommends as a guideline.

Should you be brushing more than twice a day?


Brushing Your Teeth too Little

When looking at how often you should be brushing your teeth, the first place you should look to help you analyze your decision should be your diet. If your diet tends to consist of mostly these, then you could probably benefit from brushing after every meal, and not just once in the morning and once before bed.

  • Foods that are high in sugar
  • A lot of starches and carbohydrates
  • Frequent snacker in-between meals
  • Acidic foods or drinks

Highly acidic foods like sugar, fruit juices, soda and alcohols can damage your tooth enamel. If your daily diet has you sneaking in some or all of these items, you may want to add an extra round of brushing into your oral hygiene routine so added sugars aren’t sitting on your teeth all day long.

If you are unable to brush after consuming sweets, always rinse your mouth with water so that the sugars don’t have a chance to turn to acid and plaque buildup on your teeth that eventually cause cavities and tooth decay.


Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

It’s absolutely possible to overbrush your teeth, especially when it comes to using the wrong technique and brushing too frequently. Dentists suggest that 80% of adults are over brushing their teeth because they’re determined to keep them clean and cavity free from negative childhood dentist experiences. The top issue you’re creating by brushing your teeth too often is you end up damaging your toothbrush and the bristles become like a knife with jagged edges.

The key is to trade your old toothbrush in for a new one before the bristles change form from its original shape so you’re not using a toothbrush that’s too abrasive and wears away your tooth structure.


Quality over Quantity

You can brush your teeth as many times as you want throughout the day, but you still may neglecting certain areas of your mouth if you’re not brushing your teeth properly. A full two minutes is what experts suggest when it comes to how long you should be brushing because two minutes gives you the opportunity to brush all of the surfaces of your teeth properly.

Correct brushing involves choosing a soft-bristled toothbrush and using a fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to clean every surface of your teeth including the backs of your front teeth and your chewing surfaces too.


It’s Not Just About Brushing

In addition to brushing your teeth to keep them clean, the American Dental Association also recommends to:

Floss Daily

Committing to flossing every day can be somewhat of a chore when you first begin a routine, but sticking to it will make flossing no different than just brushing your teeth. Try setting a daily reminder on your phone to floss, and keep floss in convenient areas like the car, your purse, and the coffee table so it’s always within reach.


Drinking plenty of water is not only great for your body and overall health, but your teeth and gums are benefactors from H2O as well. Every time you drink water after eating, drinking something other than water, or snacking, you’re helping your mouth to wash away harmful plaque causing bacteria that lead to tooth decay and cavities. Drinking water can also help maintain your body’s natural saliva flow, which works just like water does in washing away food debris.

Replace Dental Tools

Replacing your toothbrush every three months will keep your toothbrush from damaging your teeth due to warn bristles. If you notice your bristles are irregular or frayed before the three month mark, replace your toothbrushes sooner and try to not use as much pressure when you brush. Always use a soft bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste when brushing.

Regular Dental Checkups

One of the best ways to fight cavities and other oral health issues is to be seen by your dentist on a routine basis. This allows dentists to examine your teeth and catch issues early on while they are still small.


Are You Brushing Your Teeth Enough?

Want to know if your teeth could benefit from additional brushing, or if you’re brushing too much? Ask Dr. Phillippi at your next dental exam how your oral hygiene routine is measuring up to other patients.