Risks of Over Brushing Your Teeth
Over-brushing your teeth not only refers to "how much" you brush your teeth but also "how" you brush them. Compulsive or over-vigorous brushing can lead to oral health problems and put your mouth at risk for dental abrasion, tooth sensitivity, and gum recession.
Dental abrasion refers to the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from a foreign object, according to the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. In this case, the enthusiastic use of your toothbrush wears away at the tooth enamel and, eventually, the softer dentin and cementum structures. You can identify abrasion as worn, shiny, and often yellow or brown spots on the tooth near the gumline. Notching — a wedge or V-shaped indention of the tooth along the gumline — is also a sign of abrasion.
When toothbrush abrasion wears away the tooth enamel, the dentin layer's nerve endings either become exposed or close enough to the surface to lead to tooth sensitivity. This sensitivity may cause you to feel discomfort or pain when your teeth are exposed to hot, cold, sweet, or sour stimuli or when you brush your teeth.
Continued overzealous and improper brushing may also cause your gums to recede. When this happens, the softer cementum of the root is exposed and vulnerable. Not only is exposed cementum easily worn away and notched, leading to sensitivity and pain, but it's also more at risk for decay.