The Disadvantages of Deep Cleaning Your Teeth

Your dentist may have recommended that you deep clean your teeth every six months in order to keep them healthy and plaque-free, but you should know the disadvantages of deep cleaning teeth before you make any decisions about whether or not to do it. Read on to learn about the disadvantages of deep cleaning your teeth, including what happens if you skip a deep cleaning appointment, why you shouldn’t do this too often, and how other approaches to dental care can be equally effective without all the potential drawbacks of deep cleaning your teeth.

Brushing too hard

While your dentist might tell you to brush with great force and vigor, all that scrubbing can lead to gum problems and even dental injury. In fact, a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that intensive tooth brushing was associated with an increased risk for oral and pharyngeal cancer. While there’s not enough evidence yet to suggest you avoid vigorous tooth brushing altogether, it’s worth cutting back if you notice any unusual or persistent pain. Also consider switching out your metal brush for an electric one; they tend to be gentler on teeth and gums.

Brushing too long

Brushing for too long can wear down your tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to decay. Dentists recommend brushing only as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday once through. That’s two minutes—and you should spend half that time using a fluoride toothpaste and focusing on cleaning your back teeth. Use an electric toothbrush if you have trouble timing yourself or doing a thorough job with a manual one.

If you tend to brush too hard in your zeal to clean thoroughly, ask your dentist about using an oral irrigator after each round of brushing (you may even be able to get free samples). The extra water pressure loosens food particles so they don’t end up getting stuck in between teeth. Talk with your dentist about whether or not deep cleaning is right for you; some patients have reported sore throats after deep-cleaning sessions because their mouths are already dry from flossing. You may need to take special care if you suffer from anxiety and dental phobia, since breathing in boiling water can intensify any existing stress responses.


Though flossing and brushing are good for your teeth, overusing these methods can sometimes do more harm than good. Brushing too hard can wear down tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Flossing with too much pressure can also fray or damage gums, which makes them more vulnerable to infection. Deep cleaning your teeth is a great way to practice prevention on a daily basis—but it’s important not to overdo it. Start off slowly and gradually work up to multiple times a day. As always, talk with your dentist about what’s best for you and your specific oral health needs.

Not flossing

If you’re not flossing properly, deep cleaning is simply more bad than good. Brushing alone isn’t enough to remove bacteria and plaque from between your teeth. If you don’t have a dental floss or have never been shown how to floss correctly, be sure to talk with your dentist about proper techniques before going any further with your deep cleaning routine. Otherwise, gum disease may become a risk for you and make your teeth—and smile—less beautiful than ever before.

Flossing incorrectly

Many people with poor dental hygiene are likely flossing incorrectly. Floss is meant to scrape along your gums and remove plaque from hard-to-reach areas. However, if you’re flossing incorrectly, you’re missing out on a few key advantages. Plaque that builds up between teeth eventually leads to gum disease and tooth decay, so it’s important to ensure that any gaps between your teeth are well maintained.

Bad Breath

Many people with bad breath simply don’t realize they have it. Others are keenly aware of their halitosis, but can’t seem to address it. Bad breath is usually caused by a dental issue. The most common cause is bacteria living in your mouth which release sulfur as they digest foods that contain carbohydrates and protein. Foods such as garlic, onions, broccoli, nuts and celery are all rich in carbohydrates and proteins; therefore these foods are easily digested by bacteria causing bad breath. The good news is that most cases of bad breath can be resolved with proper care at home or treatment from your dentist such as scaling or root planing treatments for gum disease or deep cleaning for teeth.