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Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Gemma Wheeler

(GDC Number: 259369)

Oral-B Pro 2 2000

In this article I recommend 5 reliable electric toothbrush choices to help with the following conditions: 

  • Gum disease / periodontal disease / gingivitis 
  • Receding gums / sensitive gums
  • Sensitive teeth

The toothbrush recommendations are approved by our in-house dentist Dr. Gemma Wheeler.

She also answers some common pre-purchase questions

And our buyer’s guide explains how an electric toothbrush can help with the conditions listed above.

Addressing these conditions does not end with buying a toothbrush, so please do read some of the additional content below to help take care of your teeth.

IMAGE PRODUCT
Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2021 1
Oral-B Pro 2 2000
  • Slim handle with comfortable grip
  • Pressure sensor reduces the chances of doing damage to the teeth & gums
  • Good value
view on amazon →
Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2021 2
Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300
  • Slim and simple to use toothbrush
  • Great battery life – minimum of 2 weeks
  • Reminds you when you need to replace the brush head
view on amazon →
Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2021 3
Oral-B Genius AI
  • Real-time brush tracking and feedback
  • Built-in timer helps you brush the teeth evenly and for the correct amont of time
  • Pressure sensor reduces the chances of doing damage to the teeth and gums
check best price →
Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2021 4
Oral-B Smart 5 5000
  • Bluetooth enabled smart toothbrush
  • Multiple cleaning modes
  • Brush head storage compartment
view on amazon →

Our Top 4 Picks For 2021

If you’re suffering from the symptoms of gum disease or sensitive teeth, an electric toothbrush can improve your condition.

The brushes listed below are all good choices. 

At this stage, it’s worth saying that there isn’t a brush that is definitively “the best for gum disease” or any other condition.

The most important thing is that you choose a brush, and do the following: 

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Brush for 2 minutes each time
  • Use the correct brushing technique
  • Spit after brushing, don’t rinse with mouthwash or water
  • Clean between the teeth once a day, with floss or interdental brushes

Creating a regular cleaning habit by following these steps will have the biggest impact, over and above the toothbrush you choose.

So browse our list below, and choose the brush that appeals to you based on budget and features. 

Use it correctly, and you should soon see an improvement in your gums and teeth.

1. Oral-B Pro 2 2000

A fantastic electric toothbrush, the Pro 2 2000 delivers excellent cleaning results at a superb price.

You get all of the essential features you need, including a handy travel case, if you go for the black coloured handle.

The slim handled brush offers 2 cleaning modes, a standard daily clean and a more gentle sensitive mode.

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Built-in is a 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer to encourage you to brush for the right amount of time and evenly.

And to help avoid doing any uncessary damage a built-in pressure sensor alerts you via an LED when you are brushing too hard. The motor will also slow until such time as the pressure is reduced.

The small round brush head supplied offers a fantastic clean of the teeth and gums. It is also small enough to easily move around, even in the most crowded of mouths. The only possible oversight is not including the softer Gum Care brush head in the box. This can be purchased separately.

From a full charge of the battery you will get 2+ weeks of usage.

Preview Product Rating Price
Oral-B Pro 2 2000 Oral-B Pro 2 2000 69 Reviews $ 79.00

Read our Pro 2 2000 review.

2. Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300

You can be assured of a quality product when you buy a Sonicare toothbrush.

The ProtectiveClean 4300 is a toothbrush I like very much.

It actually only offers 1 cleaning mode.  But, there is the ability to select between 2 different brushing intensities.

The lower intensity mode is likely going to be more comfortable for those with sensitive teeth.

Preview Product Rating Price
Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300 - Black Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300 - Black 23 Reviews $ 99.00

The handle feels great in hand and is available in 2 colour options.

In the box you get a charging stand, brush head and a handy travel case.

The built-in rechargeable battery is said to last 14 days. I managed several weeks when I tested this brush.

A 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer are built it.  There is also a pressure sensor that alerts you if you brush too hard.

What makes the 4300 really stand out is the brush head replacement reminder system.  The toothbrush actually tracks how long each brush head has been used for.  When it is time to replace the brush head, a light on the handle is lit.

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Read our ProtectiveClean 4300 review.

3. Oral-B Genius AI

Now we get serious in terms of what is on offer.

The Genius AI is Oral-B’s latest flagship electric toothbrush, launched in the summer of 2019.

Make no mistake, you do not NEED this toothbrush.

If however, you want the very best of Oral-B, then this is it.

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A smart toothbrush, its key selling feature is the artificial intelligence it uses.

Sensors in the brush handle track the movement of the toothbrush during any cleaning cycle.  This is transferred back to the smartphone application.  It then gives, in real-time a picture of how well you are cleaning.  It highlights areas of the mouth that need more attention.

Your overall cleaning performance is measured and logged in the application.

Of course, the brush cleans the teeth really well.

The small round brush head can be moved to all the hard to reach areas with relative ease.

In addition to the 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer, you get a pressure sensor, 6 cleaning modes and an LED smart ring that can be personalised 1 of 12 colours.

Also included in the box is a travel case.

A premium case it hold the handle and up to 2 brush heads.

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What makes this a bit unique, is that the toothbrush can be charged, whilst inside the case, when you use the provided power adapter.

A USB powered device like a smartphone can even be charged via the case at the same time.

Read our Genius AI review.

You can buy the Genius AI from Shaver Shop

4. Oral-B Smart 5 5000

Offering more than the basic, the Smart 5 5000 shares the same handle design as the Pro 2 2000 that is our top pick.

However, what is appealing about the Smart 5 is that it sits between the Pro 2 2000 and the Genius AI. Arguably it brings best of both worlds.

As the name implies, it has Bluetooth connectivity. There isn’t the real-time tracking of the AI available here. But, the smartphone app does allow you to log the brushing sessions you have completed.

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The built-in rechargeable battery will keep you powered for 2+ weeks between charges and you have the choice of 5 different cleaning modes on this brush. Those choices are Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening and ProClean, so at least 2 of those are ideally suited to you if you have sensitive teeth and gums.

With such a slim profile to the handle and the rubber grip on the front, it is nice and comfortable in hand to use.

The lack of cleaning mode icons on the handle is disappointing, but you do get multiple styles of brush heads included in the box (no sensitive head) and a storage compartment for those spare heads when not in use.

Preview Product Rating Price
Oral-B Smart 5 5000 Oral-B Smart 5 5000 23 Reviews $ 129.00

Read our Smart 5 5000 review.

Understandably you want more information, so continue reading this article for a comprehensive explanation as to what to look for when choosing an electric toothbrush and why I have made the above suggestions.

Common pre-purchase questions

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In this section our in-house dentist Dr. Gemma Wheeler answers some of the common questions we get asked by people considering a new toothbrush.

Is it better to choose an electric toothbrush instead of a manual toothbrush?

Some people will see benefits when using an electric toothbrush instead of a manual toothbrush.

The purpose to toothbrushing is to:

  • remove plaque, which contributes to dental decay and gum disease.
  • remove food debris from the teeth to reduce the risk of dental decay.
  • introduce a fluoride containing toothpaste to reduce the risk of decay.

When asking whether an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush is better, the question is really “which one removes more plaque and food debris, without harming the teeth and gums”.

Studies (reviewed by Niederman and Yaacob et al ) show that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque. They also show that electric toothbrushes help with gum disease.

Despite the clear evidence in reducing plaque, there is no evidence to support the use of electric toothbrushes when it comes to reducing decay.

For people wearing braces, a review of the evidence concluded that there is no reason to support the use of electric toothbrushes for reducing plaque on teeth and avoiding gum disease (although this evidence only covered a period of 8 weeks).

When thinking about the safety of your brush, know that both manual and electric toothbrushes have the potential to cause harm when used incorrectly. An example is causing wear on the outside of the tooth by scrubbing too hard. Evidence has shown that electric toothbrushes are of no greater concern to teeth and gums than a manual toothbrush, and some studies even support the use of electric toothbrushes to prevent worsening tooth wear caused by over brushing.

One other consideration is which one are you more likely to use? A toothbrush that encourages you to brush twice a day for two minutes each time, is always going to be better than one you can’t use.

Finally, when thinking about whether an electric toothbrush is better than a manual toothbrush, you will also want to think about the environment. This recent study discussed the greater impact of electric toothbrushes on the environment.

The take home message?

It is a personal choice.

If you are good at cleaning with a manual toothbrush and have no gum disease or tooth wear, then a manual toothbrush is satisfactory. It also has less impact on the environment (especially bamboo toothbrushes).

If you struggle getting your teeth clean enough with a manual toothbrush, or if you suffer from gum disease, then an electric toothbrush is a better option for you.

Will spending more money on a toothbrush improve your oral health?

This depends on your starting point!

If you have healthy gums and teeth, spending more money on a toothbrush will not improve your oral health.

However, if you are suffering from gum disease you could benefit from spending a bit more money on the right electric toothbrush for you.

Be aware, spending more money on a toothbrush does not always mean you are getting a better product.

There are a number of types of electric toothbrush, including side to side movements, sonic, and rotation oscillation.

There is a small amount of evidence showing that rotation oscillation brushes are better than other types of electric toothbrush. They reduce levels of plaque gum disease. But one review rightly points out that the difference is small and it is unknown whether these clinical trials actually translate into day to day use.

The good news is that rotation oscillation toothbrushes tend to be cheaper than other widely available electric toothbrushes.

Apart from this, there is almost no evidence supporting one type of brush over the others. However, key characteristics which may benefit you in an electric toothbrush are:

  • a pressure sensor to prevent over brushing.
  • a timer to help ensure you are brushing for the full two minutes.
  • a good quality toothbrush head which is changed every three months or when you can see them fraying.

Our number 1 pick in the list above, the Oral-B Pro 2 2000, includes all of these.

Spending more money on a toothbrush may provide things like travel cases and better battery life, but these aren’t going to actually help brush your teeth better!

Is a smart toothbrush worth it?

Not really.

A smart toothbrush is one with bluetooth technology. This is developing all the time, and in the last few years has emerged from just connecting to a timer, to being able to connect to an app on your phone.

Some smart toothbrushes also send reminders as to when you should change your toothbrush head.

There is no evidence currently available to support the use of a smart toothbrush over a normal electric toothbrush.

As a dentist, I would point out that many of the benefits advertised by a smart toothbrush can be gained more affordably elsewhere, such as by setting a calendar reminder on your phone, or by learning proper techniques from our videos and your own dental professional.

How much should you spend on an electric toothbrush?

Our number 1 choice is based on the best value for money.

You don’t need to spend loads of money to get a good brush.

Actually, some of the best electric toothbrushes come in at under $100.

If you spend more than this you will be paying out for gimmicks that aren’t going to help you get a better result when it comes to cleaning your teeth. The most important things to look for in a toothbrush are:

  • a pressure sensor to prevent over brushing.
  • a timer to help ensure you are brushing for the full two minutes.
  • a good quality toothbrush head which is changed every three months or when you can see them fraying.

These will be included in many toothbrushes coming in the $80 – $120 bracket.

An expensive electric toothbrush will provide some extras like charging cases and better battery life, and if these are important to you then you may need to spend a little more, but it’s not necessary for a good clean.

Will an electric toothbrush help with gum disease?

Yes, electric toothbrushes help with gum disease.

Managing gum disease is all about reducing the amount of plaque on the teeth and under the gums. An important part of this is physical removal by toothbrushing and interdental cleaning.

Reviews by Van der Weijden Niederman and Yaacob et al support the fact that electric toothbrushes help with gum disease. More recently, an 11 year long study by Pitchika et al has examined long term successes of electric toothbrush users. These papers have found:

  • electric toothbrushes remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes, in both the short and long term.
  • electric toothbrushes provide a benefit in reducing levels of gum disease (compared to manual toothbrushes) both in the short term (6%) and long term (11%).
  • electric toothbrushes reduce the progression of advanced gum disease, with users having less bone loss.
  • users of electric toothbrushes, and who have gum disease, are less likely to lose teeth.

What else can you do to look after your teeth?

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Brush for 2 minutes each time
  • Use the correct brushing technique
  • Spit after brushing, don’t rinse with mouthwash or water
  • Clean between the teeth once a day, with floss or interdental brushes

Creating a regular cleaning habit by following these steps will have the biggest impact, over and above the toothbrush you choose.

We also answer more pre-purchase questions in our buyer’s guide below.

Buyer’s Guide

Sensitive & Receding Gums Explained

Whilst sensitive gums are technically different to a condition known as receding gums, they are often closely linked.

Sensitive gums are sore gums, and can be a sign of gum disease.  Untreated disease will often result in gum recession.

You see, your gums act like a natural seal around your teeth.

A bit like how a plug acts as a seal in a plug hole, stopping water escaping down the drain.

The gum covers all of the bone that holds the tooth in place.  Normally this gum is around 2-3mm deep all the way around the tooth.

A buildup of plaque

In ideal circumstances, your gums should be a nice healthy looking light pink colour with a slightly dimpled appearance (similar to orange peel).

If you take a close up look at your gums, they should wrap around the top of your tooth in roughly a ‘C’ shape, with a small triangle of gum between each of your teeth.

Gingivitis is another word for gum disease, and it is caused by a bacterial infection in the gingival sulcus.

Where your gum meets the tooth it creates a small pocket between the top of the gum the top of the bone holding the tooth in place, and the tooth itself. This pocket is called the gingival sulcus and gingivitis is caused when food particles and plaque get caught here.

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What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky substance on the teeth that contains bacteria. Plaque builds up over the course of the day. Whilst some bacteria in plaque are harmless, but some are harmful to your gum health, and this is why not removing plaque causes gingivitis (gum disease).

Over time, if the teeth and gums are not properly cleaned, the plaque is not removed. The plaque builds up and the bacteria in it produce acids which irritate your gums. This can lead to redness with bleeding, swelling and tenderness.

This is the early stages of a condition called gingivitis, or as it might more commonly known, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

Gingivitis & Periodontal disease

At the initial stages of gingivitis, the gums are often sore and sensitive to the touch, particularly when brushing.

Thankfully in most cases, gingivitis is completely reversible. At this early stage of gum disease, the process to treat the condition is relatively simple, cheap and straightforward.

In order to treat gingivitis (early gum disease) and to stop gums bleeding, you need to remove the plaque and bacteria that are irritating the gums. This is done by improving your cleaning at home.

By simply improving your cleaning at home, you should see visible improvement within a matter of days, and within a couple of weeks the bleeding should stop altogether.

If left untreated, gingivitis may develop into periodontitis, which is when the bone that holds the teeth in is also lost. Eventually, the teeth will become loose and fall out.

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Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth may be caused by a number of issues. The two most common causes of sensitive are tooth decay and tooth wear.

If you have a poor oral healthcare regime, the sugars in your food are used by the plaque to produce acids that eat away at the tooth enamel.  Continued attacks cause the enamel to break down – tooth decay, eventually resulting in a cavity (or hole) in the tooth surface.

This exposes the softer internal part of your tooth, a substance called dentine.  Once this dentine has been exposed, the nerve of the tooth is more vulnerable to changes in temperature or acidity, which is why you can get pain.

Tooth wear is also caused by exposing the dentine, but the way that this is caused is different. In tooth wear, rather than poor oral healthcare, the dentine is exposed by too many acids, brushing too hard, or grinding your teeth.

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What causes sensitivity?

Fluid filled tubes run through the dentine and connect to the nerve.  Eating or drinking foods that are hot, cold, sweet or sour can change the fluid movement.  The nerve responds with that ‘pain’ you might be familiar with.

Even those with perfectly healthy teeth will at times get tooth sensitivity, but it is magnified in cases where there is a physical hole in the tooth surface.

What about gum recession?

Receding gums (also known as gingival recession) is when the gum lowers its position on the tooth, revealing or exposing the root of the tooth, once protected by the gum.

The bit of the tooth that is exposed is the dentine, and again this can cause sensitivity in the tooth.

The gum itself may be sore if you have gum disease because of the bacterial build-up.

Whilst strictly different from a dentistry/medical viewpoint, gum recession can be brought on by the advanced stages of periodontal disease, hence the link between sensitive and receding gums.  However, both can also be brought on by a number of other factors too.

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Gum recession can be caused by:

  • Poor oral healthcare – Failing to brush regularly or correctly
  • Trauma or injury – Sudden or severe damage to the tooth and associated tissues
  • Genetics – If your parents suffered from gum recession you are more likely to
  • Grinding your teeth or bruxism – Has your partner heard you grinding at night?
  • Abnormal tooth positioning – Irregularly positioned teeth put different stresses on the gums
  • Overly aggressive brushing or flossing – Excess pressure will aggravate and accelerate recession

Treatments for recession depend on the cause, but no matter what stage you are at, there are treatments available.

Sensitive gums can be caused by:

  • Poor nutrition – Good health is fuelled by good foods.  A lack of Vitamin C is particularly problematic for the mouth.
  • Smoking – Such a habit means you will likely collect more tartar on the teeth and have deeper gaps along the gum line and increased risk of periodontal disease.
  • Genes – Some of us are just more susceptible due to genetic makeup, but you can take precautionary steps.
  • Grinding – Whilst not directly responsible for sensitive gums, if they are inflamed, such can lead to increased disease.  The increased pressure that teeth are under can speed up the breakdown of periodontal ligaments.
  • Stress – Weakens the body’s immune system, the natural defence against infection.
  • Misaligned or crowded teeth braces or bridgework – Anything that makes it more difficult to brush or floss your teeth is likely to enhance plaque and tartar formation. Flossing is important here.
  • Hormones – Changes in natural hormone levels, particularly in puberty, pregnant women and those going through the menopause.
  • Medicines – Examples include those for blood pressure or depression can cause dry mouth. A lack of saliva gives more chance for plaque to form. Other medicines may cause the gums to enlarge. This makes them more likely to trap plaque.
  • Diseases – Those with diabetes are more likely to get periodontitis than those without and be more severe if they suffer. Rheumatoid arthritis and HIV infection are just two other diseases known to cause issues with periodontal health.

Whilst some of the causes for recession and sensitivity cannot be controlled, others can.

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Treating sensitive & receding gums

The key to cleaning the mouth properly is removing as much plaque buildup as possible.

A good routine that brushes away plaque reduces the chances of further buildup and the chances of suffering from periodontal disease and recession.

Starting with the basics, you should be brushing twice a day, for at least 2 minutes a time with a toothbrush that is in good condition.  Whether that is a manual brush or electric brush, the act of cleaning is most important.

Brush your teeth correctly

You should ensure that as you clean your teeth you do so correctly.  Yes, there is a correct way to clean them.

Flinging the brush around your mouth in an uncontrolled manner is not the approach. I have created a guide on how to clean your teeth properly.

Ideally, you should floss daily too, but more on that later.

You should then ensure you visit your dentist regularly.  It should be every 6 months or at worst annually.

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Visit the dentist regularly

Whether you have a fear of the dentist or the cost is an issue, my experience tells me that generally speaking it will be a more fearful and expensive trip, should you leave it until it is too late to treat a problem you may have.

Fix the problem before it gets worse.

20% of Australians (according to the ADA) actually suffer from sensitive or bleeding gums, with many thinking it is normal.  Whilst common, it is not normal for your gums to bleed you do not want that.

It can be easy to manage sensitive gums

Thankfully it can be relatively easy to manage sensitive gums and within a few days, you can see dramatic improvements with the right steps.

When at home, the best thing to do is to avoid worrying as much as possible.  Stress and worry can make it worse.

If you have had sore gums and bleeding for many weeks or months, our advice would be to book a dentist appointment.  It need not be an emergency appointment but as soon as possible.

Should it be that only more recently your gums have begun bleeding and become inflamed, then addressing your oral hygiene routine would be the first port of call.

Make sure you brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes. You may want to brush a third time until the situation improves, but do not let this become habit; brushing twice a day is optimal under normal circumstances.

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Use a good fluoride toothpaste

When you brush, make sure you do so properly and with a good fluoride toothpaste. For adults, you should be aiming for about 1500ppm fluoride (check the back of your tube).

Spit, don’t rinse after brushing.

Floss if you can, or use one of our alternative flossers recommended towards the end of this article.

Use mouthwash a few times a day to refresh your mouth and wash away excess bacteria.  Leave it at least half an hour until after brushing – otherwise, you are simply washing away the toothpaste you have put on!

A stronger mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine is a good option for a 7 day period. Be aware with chlorhexidine-containing mouthwashes that they react with toothpaste, making them less effective, so again do not brush too close to brushing. Use for a maximum of two weeks as side effects include changes to the way you taste and tooth staining.

If after 7-14 days you have not seen significant improvement, then speak to your dentist.

Should you ever  find yourself in a position that the situation has gotten out of hand or you cannot get on top of it, then don’t fret.  Dentists and hygienists have the specialised tools and knowledge to help remove and reduce buildup. Get in touch with them and put yourself back on track for a healthier you.

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Why use an electric toothbrush?

So, this article is about finding the best electric toothbrush for sensitive and receding gums and whilst I have already outlined my best picks at the start, I shall now delve a little deeper and explain why use an electric toothbrush and why the ones I have selected.

You do not have to have or use an electric one, but clinical studies from the likes of Cochrane have shown:

  • A plaque reduction of 21% in 3 month’s when using an electric toothbrush
  • A gingivitis reduction of 11% after 3 month’s use of an electric toothbrush

Now I am not sure about you, but 21% is a big improvement in my eyes.

If you have tooth wear or receding gums, an electric toothbrush has a great benefit because a less forceful action is needed. If less force is used on your teeth, there will be less damage to the gums and tooth, protecting them in the future.

This is just the effect of brushing with an electric toothbrush, there are many other benefits too.

  • Consistent power delivery for a dentist-like clean – it does the hard work so you don’t have to
  • Can help eliminate bad breath
  • Timers and pacers to encourage a 2 minute clean
  • Various cleaning modes
  • Different brush heads – Differing styles to achieve differing results
  • Fading bristles – Reminding you when to change your brush head
  • Value added features – Travel cases, apps & more
  • Relatively low lifetime cost
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It is not all roses, there are some negatives:

  • Initial cost – More expensive than a manual brush
  • Short battery life and need to re-charge
  • Cost of replacement heads – Equivalent to the cost of a manual brush
  • Not travel friendly – Varying support for voltages and protection to handles and heads when travelling

However, my personal opinion is that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Price is often the biggest limiting factor, but when options exist for less than £50, can you put such a price on your oral health and well being?

Gum disease and inflamed gums can really demoralise us; I know — I have been there.  Most of us have at some point.  In the moment we often will pay whatever it takes to make things better.

The electric toothbrush is not just about helping resolve your sensitive gums quicker, many are about educating and improving your oral health as a whole.

Electric toothbrush – the features you need

Here are the features I would consider essential when when buying an electric toothbrush for sensitive or receding gums.

  • Gum/Massage/Sensitive cleaning mode

Normally an additional mode over the standard ‘clean’ or ‘daily clean’ mode, this cleaning mode generally operates the brush motor at a lower speed to reduce the pressure and sensitivity on the gums.  It continues to deliver a consistent power and motion unlike a manual brush.

This mode has been optimised for situations like yours.

  • Soft bristles on the brush head

Brush heads tend to vary in the firmness of the bristles, with many standard heads being firmer than you might like, or are desirable when you have sensitive teeth and gums.

Leading brands cater for this with ‘Sensitive’ brush heads that are included in the box or can be purchased separately.  They have much softer bristles to help avoid triggering any additional or unnecessary sensitivity.

Philips Sonicare even have a head specifically for Gum Health, perhaps best for when the greatest sensitivity has subsided.

  • Pressure sensor

The third most important factor in my mind: a pressure sensor that triggers an alert via a LED light or an on-screen notification (model dependent) that you are brushing too hard.

The brush motors will automatically adjust as a result of activation, but as one of the leading causes to gum recession such an alert will help educate you to reduce the pressure applied and let the bristles skim the tooth surfaces.

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  • Built-in timer

Too few people brush for the correct amount of time.

Most electric toothbrushes will come with a timer on board.

Set normally for two minutes the brush will alert you or even power off automatically in some cases when the time is up.  You should not stop brushing until the 2 minutes are up, your gum health relies upon it.

Most brushes also include a ‘pacer’ which helps you allocate the appropriate amount of time to the various sections of your mouth for an even clean.

Other features to consider

The following are not ‘essential’ but you may wish to bear them in mind when making your decision of investing in an electric toothbrush.

  • Oscillating & rotating technology

The studies have shown that these brushes, primarily manufactured by Oral-B, perform best with plaque and gingivitis removal, so there is some advantage.

However, the consistent motion offered by an electric toothbrush is a massive step forward and will improve results quicker than if using a manual toothbrush.

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  • Additional cleaning modes

You might be looking to solve your sensitivity issue right now, but what about if it clears up, what will you do?

Could other family members benefit from the electric toothbrush too?

All will come with a standard cleaning mode, but whitening or deep cleaning modes might be appealing to others in the same home as you.

  • Accessories

Premium models exist with an array of clever and useful accessories.

From travel cases to brush head storage compartments, if you are going to invest, invest in a brush that meets your needs now and in the future.  It is more effective to buy a package now than to add on bits later.

Travel for business or pleasure?  How will you protect it when on the go.

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  • Battery life

None of the brushes I recommend offer less than a week’s battery life, but some are better than others.  If you travel, lack a power outlet in the bathroom or intend to share the brush handle, you might want to look at other options.

There are also those that run on AA batteries.

To date, I have yet to see or handle a viable electric toothbrush that is powered by removable batteries that would be suitable for anyone with the aforementioned conditions.

  • Apps & connectivity

The most advanced brushes now have Bluetooth connectivity and link to your smartphone or tablet via an app.

Through this you can log, monitor and track your cleaning as well as receive helpful updates and share with your dental professional.

By no means ‘essential’ you can really keep an accurate log of your journey and some models even know and can advise where you have missed bits when brushing.

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  • Price

Sadly many features do come at a price, the more features the more expensive.

That said, there are many great value options available that don’t break the bank, but are more expensive than a manual brush.

Pay what you are comfortable with given the features gained.  Do remember though the cost of a toothbrush will be a lot less than the dental bill if you don’t take the right steps.

These are just some of the things you need to consider.  There are more.

If you really want to get into all the detail and understand all of the features in more depth; check out our electric toothbrush buyer’s guide.

Should you be a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to turn or what to buy, then, by all means, leave a comment on one of our posts, reach out to us here via our contact page or on our social media accounts, or speak to your dentist.

To my recommendations then.

Flossing

The act of flossing is something most of us are encouraged to complete at least once a day.  The reality is few really do.

I am not here to judge whether you do or don’t, I just want you to as best as possible manage your sensitive gums.

Brushing your teeth only cleans 60% of the tooth surface, some 40% goes uncleaned unless you partake in interdental cleaning whether that is flossing or using interdental brushes.

In between teeth in everyone’s mouths are gaps. Some of these gaps are larger or smaller than others and may require different flossing tools. However irrespective of the size, you need to regularly (ideally daily) clean these gaps.

Floss is best suited to small or tight gaps between the teeth, whereas interdental brushes are often preferred for the larger gaps, not to mention the added convenience they bring.

Getting in the routine of flossing is important, but it is just as important to ensure you use the correct technique otherwise you are wasting time and failing to really deal with the source of the problem.

Done correctly, the floss will actually get under the gumline and into the spaces the toothbrush does not to remove the plaque buildup.

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You might feel you now have sensitive gums because you have not flossed previously, and the thought of running a thin bit of string between the teeth and along the gumline fills you with dread.

I know myself that flossing can be painful, it can cut into the gum.

There are different types of floss available including thicker and wider ‘tape’ style flosses.

Interdental brushes are the best option to go for, if you have gum disease.  They are less likely to hurt the gums due to their design and varying sizes, however, they do take time and can work out quite expensive.  

There is another option though and that is using a water flosser.

As the name implies it relies on using a jet of water to be brushed in between the teeth and along the gumline to dislodge and wash away bacteria.

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WaterPik are the best known brand in this space and have a diverse range available from portable to countertop options.  Spending just a couple of minutes reading our article on the best electric water flossers will give you a lot more insight.

There is also the Philips Sonicare AirFloss which works in a similar way, but injects more air and fires the water out at a higher speed.  It is much quicker and more convenient in my opinion and is my favourite water flosser.  Read our Philips Sonicare AirFloss review.

Concluding comments

Sensitive teeth and receding gums are not pleasant and I wish for nobody to have to suffer with such.

However it is a very real and common problem for dentists to see and treat.

If you are suffering you need not worry, there are solutions.

We are all unique, no two mouths are identical and what works for one will not always work for another.

But depending on the severity, one of the best things you can normally do is invest in a good oral hygiene routine.

Daily brushing and flossing, when done correctly, can help to remove most of the plaque from your teeth.

Use of an electric toothbrush can enhance this plaque removal but up to 21%.

More expensive than the old fashioned manual brush, you may feel electric is not worth it, but what price do you put on your health?

The cost of treating gum disease from improper cleaning will cost you a lot more emotionally and in dental fees than any electric toothbrush.

Offering more than just a powered brush, electric toothbrushes today help educate and inform you to become better at cleaning; they are like a dental health professional at your side.

Gum disease has been dubbed ‘The Silent Killer’ as apart from a few minor symptoms, such as bleeding or receding gums, or bad breath, there may be absolutely no other signs until it is too late.

Take the precaution and make sure you are removing the bacteria that fuels this disease.

Comments and feedback

If you have anything you want to say or add about electric toothbrushes for sensitive or receding gums?

Used one of these brushes and can speak first hand about how good or bad they are?

I welcome any comments, please leave them below.

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About Jon Love

Jon is a leading voice on electric toothbrushes and has been quoted by mainstream media publications for his opinions and expertise.

Having handled & tested hundreds of products there really is very little he does not know about them.

Passionate about business and helping others, Jon has been involved in various online enterprises since the early 2000s.

After spending 12 years in consumer technology, it was in 2014 that he focused his attention on dental health, having experienced first-hand the challenge of choosing a new toothbrush.

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