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 3 models by Waterpik, Oral-B and Philips 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 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 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.
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 a 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.
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.
- 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.
- Aggressive Brushing
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.
- 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.
- Tobacco Use
Whether you chew it, or you smoke it, tobacco produces sticky and long lasting plaque. Because of its slow formation, the bacteria begins to stack up between your gums and teeth. Making it very hard to remove.
- Periodontal Disease
Untreated gingivitis 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.
- Lip Or Tongue Piercing
In a comparison between young adults, researchers at the 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.
- Poor Oral Hygiene
Last, but not least, lack of dental hygiene will inevitably lead to a variety of oral diseases and inflammations.
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.
Our Best 3 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 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 is 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 gum recession.
- Only inter-dental brush head on the market
- 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 any 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 a 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 is the Bluetooth technology and smartphone app. They really drive the price up 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
Irreplaceable Features Of Top Electric Toothbrushes For Receding Gums
Orthodontic Brush Heads
Dental professionals recommend that brush heads are replaced every 3 months. 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 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.