Oral medicine and radiology, Pedodontics, Periodontology, Tips in Clinical Dentistry

Most Common Mistakes committed while Brushing your Teeth

Tooth Brushing is the most important Preventive Technique used in Dentistry and the one which is given most importance by any Dentist. As Brushing is done to prevent any harm to the tooth and supporting structures but if the same Tooth brushing leads to harmful effects it is a big loss. So it is important to know what are the most common mistakes committed while brushing your teeth. It is important to know that brushing your teeth twice a day is important after waking up and just before sleeping. First let us see the various uses of Tooth Brushing:

  1. Brushing helps remove Food Debris stuck in between your Teeth
  2. Brushing removes or breaks Bio-film layer on the surface of Tooth which later goes on to become Plaque
  3. Brushing helps in removing Plaque layers in the tooth surface
  4. Brushing Stimulates Gingiva and makes it strong and healthy
Common mistakes while Tooth Brushing
image: sciencedaily.com

Know more about various types of Tooth Brushing Techniques:

Brushing is considered to be a daily chore and children should be taught to brush from an early age, Brushing Twice a Day is a must and the common myth that The Longer you brush more helpful it is -is a total myth. Brushing correctly following proper Brushing Techniques for a Short period of time is the most efficient way and not brushing vigorously for longer durations.

Most Common Mistakes we commit while Brushing:

Here are some of the common mistake we do regarding brushing which affect us in a very bad way, as i always say “Prevention is better than Cure” and in Dentistry Tooth Brushing is the most important mode of Prevention.

1. Selecting the Wrong Brush Size/Shape:

A Tooth brush should be selected in relation to your mouth size, some people have large mouths whereas some have small child like mouth so depending on the mouth size tooth brush should be selected. Tooth Brush Should be selected considering some factors like:

  • Size of the Brush Head – If you are opening your mouth wide and straining yourself to put in your tooth brush then the Brush head is too large for you
  • Size of the Handle – Handle of the Tooth Brush should be comfortable to the user, some like fat handles whereas some like thin slender one’s so decide the size and shape of the handle by holding it before getting it.
  • Type of Bristles – Type of Bristles on the Brush head also is a major factor concerning to the selection of tooth brush, in young male patients Medium Bristles should be used and in old patients soft bristles should be used but Hard bristles should never be used. Remember “‘Bristles should be sturdy enough to remove plaque but not hard enough to damage the teeth”.

2. Brushing Too Hard:

Brushing too Hard will not clean your teeth more effectively but will in turn harm your teeth. Brushing Hard or Vigorously will erode the Surface Enamel and expose the underlying Dentin or Nerve Endings which will cause Sensitivity. And Vigorous or Hard brushing will harm the Gingiva which will retract exposing the Root surface.

  • Brush Slowly and follow a Brushing Technique told by your Doctor for 2-5 minutes maximum which will be sufficient
  • Bushing for 4 or 5 times a day will cause more harm than benefit your teeth, so Brush 2 times a day and if you have time 3 times, once in the morning and once before you sleep and if you can squeeze in a 3rd do it after your Lunch.

3. Brushing Time – Too Long or Toot Short:

I have seen in all my patients that, no one brushes for the correct amount of time, either they brush for too long or too less which makes brushing in efficient or harmful. So you have to Brush properly following proper Brushing Techniques for a limited period of time – 2-4 minutes

  • Divide your mouth into 4 parts – Left upper -> Left lower -> Right upper -> Right lower and follow this path every time you brush.
  • Remember only the outer surface should not be clean but the inner surface of the teeth should also be cleaned so brush inner and outer surface of your teeth in the 2 to 4 minutes of brushing time you spare.

4. Wrong Brushing Technique:

Brushing techniques should be maintained correctly, improper brushing techniques causes harm to the Tooth and Gingiva causing Erosion or Abrasion of the tooth and Recession of the Gingiva.

  • ¬†Horizontal Brushing Technique will lead to Abrasion that is loss of tooth structure near the cervical end of the tooth.
  • Brush your teeth by placing the Bristles on the gingiva at 45 degress and with slight vibratory movements front and back move the brush towards the tooth surface and repeat this with other teeth.¬† – Follow this post for Proper Brushing Techniques.

 5. Tooth Brushing includes Brushing + Flossing:

Most of my patients do not Floss after Brushing , flossing is an important and integral part of Brushing as brushing cleans the surfaces of the teeth and the inner surface between teeth are cleaned by Flossing. so Tooth Brushing should be followed by Flossing at least once a day and 2 times is more than enough.

  • Learn to Floss properly because with improper flossing technique you will harm your Gingiva.
  • Inter-dental Brushing is advised by some dentists in patients with large interdental spaces or Embrassures, but i personally never suggest Interdental brushing to my patients because, excess use of interdental brushes can lead to increase in gaps between adjacent teeth.

So on the whole what you need to do is, choose the correct tooth brush and follow the proper brushing technique to get the desired result and help prevent many Oral problems like Caries, Gingivitis, Periodontitis ..etc.


  1. Two minutes is a lot longer than you realize! Next time you brush count to 120 in your head and see how long it takes versus how long you’ve been brushing. 2 minutes at the sink can get boring so take a stroll around the house while you’re brushing!

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