Facts and Fiction About Brushing Your Teeth

Fact or Fiction: The harder you brush, the cleaner and healthier your teeth and gums can be.


If you skip brushing or don’t brush your teeth everyday, brush extra hard the next time you get around to it.


Less pressure is more effective, when you brush.


Less vigorous brushing can mean more money saved on toothbrushes and dental care in the long run. Just ask our dentists at the Placerville Dental Group! Brushing vigorously wears out your toothbrush faster. Brushing too much, or too hard, may lead to unnecessary enamel loss and definitely causes gum recession. Both of these issues accelerate tooth loss — the opposite of what you want to accomplish with toothbrushing.

Proper Toothbrush Technique

To keep your mouth problem free and healthy, you need to brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush for at least two minutes each time. Don’t brush like you’re scouring pots and pans! A gentle, circular brushing technique works best. A soft toothbrush does an excellent job without hard pressure.

Brush each tooth, front to back as well as the tops, especially for the molars. If you are using a whitening toothpaste, it’s especially important not to brush too hard because many whitening toothpastes contain abrasives to break up plaque and reduce stains. Again, brushing too hard with these toothpastes weakens your tooth enamel, the opposite result you desire! (Note below a combined list of the relative abrasiveness of various toothpastes, taken from the Capital Area Dental Society of Austin, Texas.) If whiter teeth are your goal, for the best results simply visit one of our Placerville dentists for professional cosmetic tooth whitening, which is far less damaging to the enamel.

Signs You Brush Too Hard

Here are some signs you may be brushing too hard:

  • Your toothbrush bends while you are brushing.
  • The bristles on your toothbrush are bent and frayed, even though it’s relatively new.
  • You use a hard or medium bristle toothbrush, instead of a soft one.
  • Despite regular brushing, your gums are sore or bleeding and even receding from aggressive brushing.

Don’t strong arm your toothbrush — gentle brushing means healthy teeth and gums! Save extra elbow grease for scrubbing the carpets or your upcoming Spring cleaning. If you have questions about your toothbrush, toothpaste or other subjects, please feel free to examine our website and its many blog articles or ask us during your next visit to the Placerville Dental Group.

The Relative Dentin Abrasion (RDA) Table:

  • 0-70 = low abrasive
  • 70-100 = medium abrasive
  • 100-150 = highly abrasive
  • 150-250 = regarded as harmful limit (italics ours)

RDA Value of Various Toothpastes

(FDA Recommended Limit 200. ADA Recommended Limit 250)

Straight Baking Soda 7
Arm & Hammer Tooth Powder 8
Arm & Hammer Dental Care 35
Oxyfresh 45
Tom’s of Maine Sensitive 49
Arm & Hammer Peroxicare 49
Rembrandt Original 53
CloSYS 53
Tom’s of Maine Children’s 57
Colgate Regular 68
Colgate Total 70
Sensodyne 79
Aim 80
Colgate Sensitive Max Strength 83
Aquafresh Sensitive 91
Tom’s of Maine Regular 93
Crest Regular 95
Mentadent 103
Sensodyne Extra Whitening 104
Colgate Platinum 106
Crest Sensitivity 107
Colgate Herbal 110
Aquafresh Whitening 113
Arm & Hammer Tarter Control 117
Arm & Hammer Advance White Gel 117
Close-up with Baking Soda 120
Colgate Whitening 124
Crest Extra Whitening 130
Ultra Brite 133
Crest MultiCare Whitening 144
Colgate Baking Soda Whitening 145
Pepsodent 150
Colgate Tarter Control 165
Colgate 2-in-1 Tarter Control/White 200


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