Can brushing hard also cause ulcers?

Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated Dec 5, 2023

Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated Dec 5, 2023

Ulcers are one of the most common oral problems that almost all of us have faced. Ate or drank something extra hot? You’ll get an ulcer. Had a couple of stressful sleepless nights? Or ate poorly for a few weeks? You’ll probably get an ulcer. Bite your tongue, cheek or lip by mistake? You’ll get an ulcer.
But did you know that brushing hard could also cause ulcers? Our mouths are lined by a soft mucosa which can withstand very little ill treatment. Any kind of physical trauma will easily turn into an ulcer. This is because we use our mouth for multiple things like eating, drinking and talking throughout the day. This causes slower wound healing and often leads to ulcers.

Do not use a hard brush

A hard bristle brush is one of the most dangerous oral hygiene tools. It is recommended only for people with excellent tooth alignment and hygiene. Incorrect use can very easily cause not only tooth damage, but can cut into your gums or inner cheeks and cause ulcers. Long term aggressive use of a hard-bristled brush can cause bleeding gums, tooth damage and frequent ulcers. So get a soft or ultra-soft brush.

Brush properly to avoid ulcers

If you use a soft brush and are still a victim of ulcers, then you need to check your brushing method. Do not randomly brush your teeth in any direction and call it a day. Place the brush at a 45-degree angle towards your gum line and use gentle sweeping strokes or circular motion to push the plaque away from your teeth. Brush your chewing surfaces and the back of the teeth as well. Avoid aggressive horizontal strokes to avoid gum and oral tissue damage. So brush right to avoid ulcers.

Replace your frayed brush

A frayed toothbrush means you either have a very hard brush or you are brushing very hard. Both cases will lead to frayed toothbrush bristles. Frayed bristles spread out while brushing and cause micro-tears in your gums and soft tissues. Therefore, brushing hard with a frayed toothbrush often leads to ulcers. So replace your brush every 3-4 or earlier if the bristles start fraying. Ulcers caused due to hard brushing usually resolve on their own in a week’s time. If you persistently have ulcers for more than 2 weeks, visit your dentist at the earliest.
Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with a soft brush and a good fluoridated toothpaste. Floss regularly and clean your tongue to maintain a good oral hygiene and prevent ulcers.


  • Ulcers are the second most common disease after tooth decay.
  • Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing in a haphazard form can also cause ulcers.
  • Frayed bristled toothbrush can also cause micro-tears in the gums causing ulcers.
  • Replace your toothbrush if frayed use the right technique to brush your teeth.
  • Apply some soothing gels or try some home remedies to get rid of your ulcers.
  • Tele consult your dentist for gels to be applied on the ulcers for immediate relief.
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Stay Informed, Smile On!

Author Bio: Dr. Apurva Chavan is a dentist by the day and a voracious reader and writer by the night. She loves to fix smiles and tries to keep all her procedures as pain free as possible. Equipped with over 5 years of experience she loves to not just treat her patients but also educate them about dental hygiene and appropriate maintanence routines. After a long day of preserving smiles she loves to curl up with a good book or pen down some of life’s musings. She strongly belives that learning never stops and likes to keep her self updates with all the latest dental news and research.

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1 Comment

  1. wiljweg

    This blog presents very useful facts


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