Receding gums is a dental medical condition, referred to as gingival recession. Over time, this oral disease pulls back the tissue of the gum and exposes more of the tooth’s root. This results in the formation of deep pockets and gaps between the teeth and gum line. If left untreated, destructive bacteria can build up close to the root canal causing pain, decay and eventual loss of teeth.
The regular use of an electric toothbrush is one way to prevent or treat receding gums. Below we have reviewed 6 models by Waterpik, Oral-B, Philips, FairyWill, and AquaSonic that are perfect for fighting off gum recession.
Top 3 Electric Toothbrushes For Receding Gums
Receding Gum Symptoms
Most people do not even realize that they have gum recession, because it occurs slowly over time. In the beginning, it is often painless, not bothersome, but still easy to spot. That is if you know what signs to look for.
Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold is usually what most people notice first. However, this typically means that your gums have already receded considerably. If you pay closer attention to your teeth while brushing, you can notice early symptoms, such as:
- Bleeding, swollen or red gums
- Already receded gums
- Loose teeth
- Unrelenting bad taste in the mouth
- Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gum
Next time you brush, see if there is a notch between the tooth and the gum line. This is a good sign that gum tissue has started to pull back, therefore, causing a recession.
Water flossing is another great way of preventing or recovering from receding gums and similar oral diseases. Check out our reviews on the top oral irrigators in the industry, and scroll down for more information on why flossing is so important.
What Causes Gum Recession
In most cases, gingival recession is linked to poor oral hygiene habits. However, there are instances where gums can recede despite good overall dental hygiene. Below is a list of factors that can contribute to deteriorating gum health:
Gum thickness and tooth position are inherited factors that can influence and speed up the process of gum recession. In recent research, scientists have shown that 30% of North Americans are still prone to gum disease, despite good oral hygiene habits. This just shows how it’s so important to keep up your dental health even if you don’t currently have any symptoms of receding gums.
Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism is an unhealthy habit that places too much pressure on the teeth. This causes damage to the soft tissue and it can lead to loose teeth. Grinding your teeth is not as uncommon as you’d think, in fact, it can often be a subconscious act if you’re feeling nervous or even in your sleep. Sometimes this can cause gum damage, especially if you’re grinding with intense pressure.
Trauma To Gum Tissue
Gums are covered by soft, moist and sensitive tissue. This makes them very susceptible to a variety of damage caused by accidents, sports injuries and other types of physical traumas. Like your skin, it will regrow and heal from one-off accidents, like a paper cut on your finger will heal. Consistent damage and disease, however, is not something you can simply heal from.
Forceful tooth brushing will eventually result in the physical wear and tear of the gums. Hard bristle toothbrushes combined with a vigorous brushing technique are a well-known cause of gum recession. We brush hard for that squeaky clean feeling – but really, we should be brushing gently and letting the circular brush motions, vibrations and toothpaste do all the work. It’s far better to floss gently after a light brush than to do one quick, hard brush.
Abnormal Tooth Position
Crowded and irregularly positioned teeth often lack adequate jaw bone density. This leaves the root of some teeth exposed and vulnerable to a variety of gum disease, including recession.
Whether you chew it, or you smoke it, tobacco produces sticky and long-lasting plaque. Because of its slow formation, the bacteria begin to stack up between your gums and teeth. Making it very hard to remove. Talk to your orthodontist if this is the case for you. A brace (the permanent kind or just to wear overnight) could be a simple solution to help your gums and improve your smile! It’s likely that you’ll be brushing your teeth harder or using high powered whitening settings on your toothbrush to get rid of the yellow stains – another factor that can cause your gums to recede.
Untreated gingivitis (gum disease that presents as red, swollen and irritated gums at the base of your teeth) and poor dental hygiene lead to periodontitis. This oral inflammation damages and destroys gum tissue and the bones that support the teeth. The slow obliteration of tissue and bones can not only cause receding gums but loose teeth as well. Don’t leave this untreated!
Lip Or Tongue Piercing
In a comparison between young adults, researchers at Ohio State University showed that 41% of those with pierced lips had receding gums. The same team of academics demonstrated that tongue piercing can also cause nerve damage, fractured teeth, and periodontitis. All factors leading to receding gums.
It’s worth noting that it’s highly personal – depending on the depth of your lips and placement, the piercing might not come into contact with your gums at all. There are also soft piercing options, using materials such as PTFE for body jewelry. Always stay cautious and if you simply must get that lip or tongue piercing, pay close attention to your dental health and immediately remove the piercing if you notice the damage. It’s not worth losing your teeth!
Poor Oral Hygiene
Last, but not least, a lack of dental hygiene will inevitably lead to a variety of oral diseases and inflammations.
The wrong diet can make an existing case of receding gums escalate faster. Acidic, cold and sugary foods are not good for your gums. A healthy mouth can simply brush them away at the end of the day, but if you have receding gums these foods can cause more damage or even pain through sensitivity.
NOTE: Braces are not known to aid the recession of gums. However, wearing them could be quite uncomfortable if you have a sensitive gum line. This does not mean you should not brush your teeth. But, it might mean you could use a different toothbrush. So, check out our reviews of top toothbrushes for braces.
How Is The Electric Toothbrush Going To Defeat Receding Gums?
Brushing your teeth for the right amount of time using the right technique is the first line of defense against gingival recession. Good electric toothbrushes come with timers, pressure sensitivity sensors, and at least 2 different brushing modes. After a while, these essential functions teach users how to better time their tooth brushing, as well as how to avoid being too aggressive on their gums and teeth.
Dentists recommend electric toothbrushes because they know most patients do not brush for 2 minutes at a time. The majority of people who use manual toothbrushes spend no more than 45 seconds per brushing.
In addition, to match the 31,000 brush strokes per minute that these electric gadgets produce, you will have to be faster than The Flash. Such high speeds cover more teeth faster, as well as remove more harmful bacteria.
Last, of all, the latest models introduced by Philips and Oral-B include interactive smartphone applications. These are great because they make brushing more fun, they give daily statistics, instructions, and reminders. All of this helps the user establish better tooth brushing habits.
Should You Also Floss?
Any rough contact with your gums, whether it’s hard flossing with string or too-firm bristles, can cause receding gums. So, should you floss as well as a brush?
The answer is yes! No matter how great your toothbrush is or how hard you brush your teeth, there are also gaps that the brush can’t reach. So, flossing is the best way to get to those areas. After all, stopping plaque build up is a key step to preventing your gums from receding further.
The best solution is to go soft. Twice. First, go soft with the toothbrush. Don’t focus on going in hard to reach between your teeth. Focus on cleaning the front, back, and tops of your teeth. Next, go soft with your flossing. Avoid any hard toothpicks or string flossers. Instead, use a water flosser with a gentle yet steady stream of water. Rinse out plaque, bacteria, and food that your brush couldn’t reach. Water is so much more gentle and soothing on your gums but is still a very effective way to floss.
Finally, you can finish your dental routine with a swirl of mouthwash. There are many on the market designed especially for receding gums.
- Brush gently with an electric or sonic electric brush, using heads with soft bristles.
- Floss gently with a water flosser, so you can catch anything your brush missed.
- Finish with gum care formulated mouth wash that will soothe the gums you knocked and protect your mouth overnight or throughout the day.
Our Best 6 Picks Reviewed
Enough talk about the symptoms and causes of gum recession. Let us dive into the reviews of the 3 motor powered toothbrushes that are excellent tools in preventing this oral disease.
Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus
Let me start by saying that this is Waterpik’s only electric toothbrush. Shocking, I know! But, let me tell you, they have certainly made a positive impact on the market with it!
When I was younger I did not pay a lot of attention to taking good care of my teeth. Since I didn’t seem to have any of the common dental problems such as cavities or broken teeth, I simply brushed twice a day and skipped seeing a dentist. Unfortunately, as the years passed my teeth began to show signs of wear and tear, and sensitivity became a problem for me.
The decline of my oral health led me to call a dentist and schedule an appointment for cleaning, X-rays, and examination. In addition to a couple of small cavities that needing fixing, the examination also showed my gums were starting to recede. The dentist explained that I could stop and even reverse this process with improved dental hygiene, and I was advised to begin using an electric toothbrush to accomplish better cleaning while brushing.
After checking the most popular models to compare pricing and effectiveness, I settled on the Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus. I was pleased to learn the soft bristles more effectively reached into tight spaces to remove food particles and plaque than some other models. Plaque removal and gum massage are essential in preventing gum disease, so my receding gums became healthier and my oral health has been restored.
Not to mention, Waterpik is the only company so far to offer a sonic inter-dental brush head. While it is could be a bit uncomfortable for some people, it works wonders when cleaning up deep pockets, bridges, and crowns. Because it can reach those hard to get places between the teeth. It does a great job against the gum recession.
- The only inter-dental brush head on the market
- The battery lasts 8 full days (manual says 7)
- Great choice of brush heads
- 38,750 brush strokes per minute
- Might find the handle a bit too long
- It is priced around $100 (not cheap)
Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum
The FlexCare Platinum is one of few clinically proven to improve gum health toothbrushes. If you read descriptions on official brand websites like Philips or Oral-B, you will be left with the impression that all of their toothbrushes are miracle workers. They all whiten your teeth, kill 99.9% bacteria, and heal your gums. Even though this could be the case, there are no clinical studies to prove it.
This updated version of the older FlexCare model comes with an exclusive gum care mode. Combined with Philips’ new InterCare brush head, this model begins to show gum health improvements within two weeks. We found this combo to be especially effective in dealing with gingival bleeding and inflammation. The testers saw improvements before they even had to recharge the toothbrush. Which, usually happens every 12 days or so.
The FlexCare Platinum comes with another brush head of your choice. We recommend you get two InterCare brush heads. If you are planning on using this model for receding gum control, there is no better option from Philips. Other brush heads might prove to be not as efficient and gentle on sensitive gums.
The other two brushing modes are Clean and White. The former is standard for an electric toothbrush that comes out of Philips’ production line. It is meant to provide the usual brushing experience at 31,000 strokes per minute. However, you can completely substitute this with the Gum Care mode. There is no need to switch between the modes.
The FlexCare platinum is also equipped with QuadPacer timer and pressure sensor. Both settings are particularly important, so you can avoid over-brushing, which is the main leading cause of gum recession.
The only complaint we have seen people have is with the design. There is a rubber comfort guard that surrounds the unit and does not feel properly in place. Whenever the unit gets wet, it allows water to collect in it. This can cause molding over time.
- Good battery life
- Gum Care brushing mode
- Quadpacer timer
- InterCare brush heads included
- Not cheap
- Some design flows
Oral-B Pro 6000
The Pro 6000 is one of Oral-B’s higher models that we tested. As such, you can expect it to be a bit more expensive. In this line of thought, if you are looking for an inexpensive everyday electric toothbrush, this wouldn’t be the right model for you. We have selected this as an excellent model for people who feel their gums are receding and need a more sensitive toothbrush.
Even though this unit comes with 5 customized brushing modes, we only care about the sensitive one. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that switching to the sensitive mode did not affect the performance of the unit at all. Evidently, sensitive brushing modes use less rotational power. This is what makes them gentler on the gum line. When switching from the daily clean mode, to the sensitive one, we could feel the tiny loss of power in the brush. However, the cleaning of teeth remained just as effective.
Less power by itself, however, does not deliver a tender brushing experience. This is achieved by adding a distinctive brush head with softer bristles. And, this is exactly what Oral-B have done. They offer the Pro-6000 model with a well-designed Sensitive Clean brush head that is very gentle on the gums. Consumers are given a choice of 3 brush heads in total. We wouldn’t recommend you bother buying the Floss Action and 3D White brush heads. Stick to the sensitive one if you want to improve your receding gums.
We honestly loved the Pro-6000. The QuadPacer timer and pressure sensor are right on point. Otherwise, we would not have recommended this model.
What we did not like are the Bluetooth technology and smartphone app. They really drive the price up to and are not going to improve your gum health. We found that the app does not improve the brushing experience in any way. Besides documenting your brushing habits, this app brings no benefit to treating receding gums.
- Great sensitive brushing mode
- Sensitive Clean brush head
- Quite powerful, yet gentle
- Sleek and shiny design
- Useless smartphone app
- Useless 3D White brushing mode
FairyWill isn’t as well known as Oral-b, Philips and other leading toothbrush manufacturers, but we reviewed this toothbrush with just as much attention!
The FairyWill is a basic and affordable electric toothbrush. It has all of the standard features you’d expect from a good electric toothbrush wrapped up in a very lightweight design. USB charging is a little inconvenient for some, but other than that there are no glaring issues with this brush.
It’s good for receding gums as it’s naturally quite weak and gentle with its vibrating power (40,000 micro-brush per minute). You have several modes you can switch between; massage is the best for receding gums as it really reduces the vibrations and massages your teeth and gums gently.
The clean and sensitive modes are stronger but still suitable for receding gums… just make sure you avoid the white mode, which will be a bit too much.
The FairyWill is compatible with multiple brush heads from FairyWill – they’re easy to find on Amazon but you won’t be able to pick them up at the supermarket like Oral-B. A gentle brush head with soft bristles is ideal. The FW507 model is compatible with a range of W shaped brushes that are fine for receding gums, but if you particularly want round brush heads other FairyWill models come with them instead. You can also find FairyWill round brush heads designed for kids, which are extra soft and gentle – a great option if you’re fighting both receding gums and sensitive teeth!
We highly recommend following up with a water tooth pick to ease out food and plaque from between your teeth. FairyWill might be great for soothing your gums but it’s not the most effective at reaching tight and hidden spots between teeth.
- Weak vibrating power is gentle on gums
- Lightweight feeling is easy to hold and use for long periods
- Small, round brush heads
- The USB charging isn’t practical at home
- Weak vibrating power, although great for your gums, won’t dislodge stubborn plaque
Philips Sonicare 5100
You’ll notice the cons are about price and battery life – but these aren’t true cons. The price is high but worth it. The battery life is poor compared to all other brushes on our list, and yet that’s entirely reasonable considering the number of features you get.
It has 3 brushing modes for gum care, tooth whiteness, and that extra clean feeling. It also has a pressure sensor, so you can feel comfortable using the more powerful clean setting (up to 62,000 VPM) while knowing that your brush will alert you if you’re getting close to damaging your gums with unnecessary pressure.
The brush sync replacement system alerts you when your brush needs replacing. Make sure you buy brushes in advance (it’s super easy to find Philips replacement heads on Amazon) so you can replace them quickly. Only 1 brush head is included in the box – the optimal gum care brush head.
The 2-minute timer also gives you alerts when to move onto another quadrant in your mouth. It doesn’t pause or stutter the vibration like other models (which can jar your gums if you’re not expecting it) instead it makes a noise to move on. We liked that. It only takes a knock with the toothbrush to cause pain for your receding gums.
Finally, we’d like to point out how well-made and long-lasting this brush appears to be. Once you’ve stocked up on brush heads, this will last you for years and keep your gums as healthy as can be.
- Weak vibrating power is gentle on gums
- Lightweight feeling is easy to hold and use for long periods
- Small, round brush heads
- USB charging isn’t practical at home
- Weak vibrating power, although great for your gums, won’t dislodge stubborn plaque
AquaSonic Home Dental Centre
The AquaSonic Home Dental Center really is a whole center of devices you can use to keep up your dental health and soothe receding gums. In this center, you get a countertop station with space for all your new utensils, an ultrasonic toothbrush, a smart water flosser, inductive chargers, 4 normal brush heads, 1 interdental brush head, and 4 aquaflosser tips (2 standard, 1 tongue cleaner, and 1 orthodontic tip).
The brush itself has a 2-minute quad timer and 3 different modes going up to 31000 VPM. The best mode for those with receding gums is massage, but you can also use the soft mode for a quicker and more intense clean. The high mode is a little too brisk for those with sensitive gums, but it does mean you can share the base with others in your family who prefer a stronger brush.
Overall, this is a gentle and soothing dental care kit. The water flosser has low power to gently flush out food and the brush has soft bristles to clean your teeth without making your gums go into hiding.
We do like the idea of the full dental station in your bathroom, but if you’re quite choosy it might be better to choose your water flosser and toothbrush separately. On the other hand, just look at the price! I mean, do you really have that much to lose from giving this a go?
This is an ideal, very gentle all-around kit that’s great for home use. You’ll probably find that you need to buy a travel toothbrush kit that doesn’t need the full base to charge, so calculate that into your budget when considering the AquaSonic Home Dental Center.
- The battery lasts for months
- Includes water flosser and all the accessories you need
- Soft and massage mode is ideal for receding gums
- Very affordable price considering all that’s included
- The water flosser is not the best quality
Irreplaceable Features Of Electric Toothbrushes For Receding Gums
Orthodontic Brush Heads
Dental professionals recommend that brush heads are replaced every 3 months, so technically they’re not an irreplaceable feature… but you know what we mean! As a reminder, latest model orthodontic brush heads come with bristle indicators that slowly fade. This reminds the user to replace the head every 3 or so months.
In addition, different brush heads, come with different bristles’ placement. For example, the AdaptiveClean technology by Philips does a great job at keeping sensitive gums intact. The bristles’ positioning and softness are made to maximize plaque removal while safeguarding the gum line.
Smart electric toothbrushes are equipped with technologies that sense how hard the user is pressing against the teeth. Different models are designed to react differently. For instance, some toothbrushes send distinguished handle vibrations to let the user know that he or she is pressing too hard, and therefore, brushing aggressively. Other models might make a buzzing sound or change colors from blue to red in order to notify the user of over-brushing.
In any case, pressure sensors have become standard and necessary accessories for electric model toothbrushes.
Time spent per brushing is essential, but often over-looked. Dentists recommend we brush our teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. It is also common practice to divide your mouth into 4 teeth zones, and spend 30 seconds brushing each.
Timers help users follow best practices. Once the two minutes are over, most electric toothbrushes will turn off. In addition, they will signal the user every 30 seconds as a reminder to move from one zone of the mouth to the next. Depending on one’s technique, brushing longer than two minutes can cause gums to become irritated. This is why it is important to adhere to the 2 minutes recommended by most dental professionals.
Moderate Cleaning Mode
The higher end electric toothbrushes come with five or more brushing modes. These allow for personal customization and adjustments based on one’s preferences and oral health needs.
Moderate or sensitive modes are ideal for the prevention of receding gums. They provide gentle action at lower oscillating or sonic speed, while still eliminating plaque.
Oral-B and Philips have added another function to their higher end toothbrushes called massage mode. I find that mode to be very tender on the teeth and gums. However, it does not do a good job at eradicating plaque and bacteria. I find this mode to be far too soft for that.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.