An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Are you brushing your teeth away?

  • Published
  • By SrA Kaitlyn Jones
  • 43rd Medical Squadron
How hard are you brushing your teeth? Are you using a soft bristled toothbrush? Is the area where your tooth meets your gums sensitive? The answers to these questions are factors when determining if you have toothbrush abrasion.

Many people believe the harder they brush their teeth, the cleaner they are. This is false and harmful to your teeth and gums. The technique you use when brushing your teeth, the frequency of brushing, and the use of floss will determine how clean your teeth are.  Your gums and tooth structure are not meant to be scraped off by your toothbrush. If you find it difficult to soften your brush strokes I have a few suggestions. First, you can use three fingers instead of your entire fist to grip your toothbrush. Second, you can use your less dominant hand to brush with. If these are unattainable, making a conscious decision to soften your strokes can also help.

Have you ever walked into a store to buy a new toothbrush and been overwhelmed by the plethora of choices? If so, you are like every other person on the planet that does not work in the dental field. The companies that make toothbrushes are after your uninformed money. Soft bristle toothbrushes are the only type of toothbrushes that won't upset your dentist (extra soft is also acceptable). If you have the money, an electric toothbrush is an excellent investment. An electric toothbrush will have soft bristles.

You are looking in the mirror and notice the gums around your tooth aren't quite where they were a few months ago. Now, drinking cold water is almost impossible. Then, you notice a ledge has formed in your tooth. These could be signs of toothbrush abrasion. I do not encourage self-diagnosis, however, these are things you should be aware of.

Regular dental visits and dental knowledge can prevent long term complications with your teeth and gums. For more information, please visit