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Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2023

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Gemma Wheeler

(GDC Number: 259369)

Oral-B Smart 2000 in the hand

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.

Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2023 1
Oral-B Smart 2000
  • Built-in timer helps you brush the teeth evenly & for the correct amont of time
  • Pressure sensor reduces the chances of doing damage to the teeth & gums
  • Sensitive brush head included
view on amazon →
Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2023 2
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4500
  • Reminds you when you need to replace the brush head
  • Great battery life – minimum of 2 weeks
  • Travel case included
view on amazon →
Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2023 3
Oral-B iO
  • Real-time position tracking
  • Pressure sensor reduces the chances of doing damage to the teeth & gums
  • Premium travel case included
view on amazon →
Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums / Sensitive Teeth 2023 4
Sonicare DiamondClean Smart
  • Real-time position tracking
  • Pressure sensor reduces the chances of doing damage to the teeth & gums
  • Premium travel case with USB charging
view on amazon →

Video of our best picks

Best Electric Toothbrush For Sensitive Teeth & Receding Gums 2023

The best toothbrushes for receding gums /sensitive teeth: our top picks for 2023

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 Smart 2000

There might not be one ‘best brush’ for receding gums, but by opting for the Smart 2000 from Oral-B you are going to set yourself up for a fast track ticket to better oral health and slowed gum recession.

Preview Product Rating Price
Oral-B Smart 2000 Oral-B Smart 2000 513 Reviews CDN$ 89.99Amazon Prime

Many features are built-in and make this brush such a logical choice, but perhaps the most important is the cleaning experience.

Oral-B use small round brush heads.

Proven through independent research groups such as Cochrane to be very effective at removing plaque, it is not just false marketing claims of being able to clean better.

The slim handled brush not only looks good, but feels good in the hand, it is not heavy or clunky to use.

There are 2 different cleaning modes are available, Daily Clean and Sensitive.

Operating at different speeds and intensities, you can change between modes to find the one best for you.

You do too, receive a soft bristled, sensitive brush head in the box, so from the moment you get this toothbrush you have what you need to start improving your oral health.

Brushing too hard is a big contributor to wearing away the gums, but when using the Smart 2000 you can avoid this, because if excessive pressure is detected, the pressure sensor will illuminate red and the motor will slow down until such time as the pressure is relieved, putting your tooth health first.

Oral-B Smart 2000 Electric Toothbrush

A 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer are standard features that encourage even brushing across the teeth and gums and help you achieve the dentist recommended cleaning time.

The built-in rechargeable battery lasts for up to about 20 days between charges.

A travel case would have been a bit of a bonus addition, but sadly this is not included.

The Smart 2000 is not perfect, but few things are.  It is a solid performing and good value electric toothbrush that we know you will be pleased with.

Read our full Oral-B Pro 2000 review.

2. Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4500

Sonicare are well known for their quality products and the 4500 is the mid-range brush in their ProtectiveClean series.

Whilst some of the competition might be a little cheaper, you only have to use the 4500 for just a few minutes to understand why it can be worth spending a few extra dollars on this electric toothbrush.

Preview Product Rating Price
Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4500 Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4500 484 Reviews CDN$ 79.99Amazon Prime

There may well be no single best brush for periodontal disease, but it feels like this brush is made with you in mind.  In the box is a single Optimal Gum Care brush head, one of a range of interchangeable Sonicare brush heads available, but the soft and precision profiled bristles help clean effectively along the gumline without causing pain and discomfort to your delicate gums.

This brush handle and brush head even has a technology called BrushSync which actually tells you when you need to replace the brush head.  The problem is the heads are a bit more expensive than the standard heads (which are compatible with this handle).

The toothbrush is smooth to the touch and fairly slim in hand.

The Sonicare 5100 is one of the best brushes if you're suffering from periodontal disease

A powerful brush motor provides up to 62,000 movements per minute to the brush head and as the brush runs so does the built-in timer and pacer.

Make use of these features to ensure you get an even clean to the teeth and that you are indeed brushing for the right amount of time.

When the clean is over, the brush will automatically power itself off, which is a small but nice touch.

As has been established brushing too hard is a cause of gum recession, so the handle of the ProtectiveClean 4500 will vibrate, to alert you, when it detects too much pressure being applied.

The brush is very quiet and the built-in rechargeable battery lasts a minimum of 2 weeks, but in my hands-on testing lasted an impressive 5 weeks before requiring a recharge.

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A travel case is provided, so you can easily transport and protect the handle and up to 2 brush heads.

A superb electric toothbrush, there is little to fault.

Read our review of the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4500.

3. Oral-B iO

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

The iO is the latest flagship electric toothbrush, launched in 2020.

Make no mistake, you do not NEED this toothbrush.

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

It has the distinctive small round brush head that Oral-B are well known for. But, the brush motor and the handle have all been completely redesigned for the iO.

Part of the redesign means the toothbrush is now quieter than most other Oral-B models.

It does too have a display built into the brush handle which gives it a modern and fairly clean look.

Oral-B iO under running water

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.

Preview Product Rating Price
Oral-B iO Oral-B iO 24 Reviews CDN$ 355.34Amazon Prime

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 have a pressure sensor. Unlike most pressure sensors that alert you simply when too much pressure is applied, this one actually shows you hen you are applying the right amount of force.

7 different cleaning modes are available, including sensitive and super sensitive. You and personalize the light ring 1 of 12 colours too.

Also included in the box is a travel case.

A premium case it hold the handle and 1 brush head.

Oral-B iO Series 9 Onyx Black Toothbrush in power2go travel case

What makes this a bit unique, is that the toothbrush can be charged, whilst inside the case, when you use the provided power adapter. Sadly this is a proprietary power adapter rather than a more convenient USB cable.

Read our iO review.

4. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart

The most premium of Sonicare toothbrushes. If you want the very best and most feature rich, then this is it.

With real-time tracking, this brush shows you exactly what teeth you have and have not brushed. The data is then logged in the application for review at a later date.

Commit to using the app and you will improve your overall brushing and the coverage that you achieve.

It is a feature that a select few users will find useful, particularly when you consider the price premium this brush commands.

But, you do get a number of extras included for this price.

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Multiple cleaning modes are built-in, most useful will be the more gentle gum health mode.

The slower cleaning action will be softer on the teeth and gums. Coupled with the G3 Premium Gum Care brush head and the choice of 3 different brushing intensities you will be hard pushed not to enjoy the brushing experience on offer here.

Preview Product Rating Price
Sonicare DIamondClean Smart Sonicare DIamondClean Smart 305 Reviews CDN$ 499.24

Smart features extend to the toothbrush head, that is tracked by the brush handle and an LED is illuminated when the head is due to be replaced, meaning you don’t have to remember when you last swapped it out.

There is too a visible pressure sensor is built into the handle to alert you when you are brushing too hard. This is in addition to the 2 minute timer and pacer.

And for those who like to travel, the DiamondClean Smart comes with a premium case that will hold the handle and up to 2 brush heads. You can also charge the brush whilst inside the case too.

Read our DiamondClean Smart review.

You may want a little more information on how and why these suggestions were made.  If you continue reading this article, you will get a comprehensive explanation as to what are considered important features and functions to look for when choosing an electric toothbrush for sensitive and receding gums.

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 Smart 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.

This topic is discussed in more detail in our article: is a smart toothbrush worth it?

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, many 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 $60 – $100 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 color 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 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.

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 dentin.  Once this dentin 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 dentin, 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 dentin 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.

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 defense 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.

Treating sensitive & receding gums

The most effective way to treat sensitive and receding gums is to remove the cause, which is most cases is the buildup of plaque.

Relatively simple to remove, for most through brushing and regular flossing is the answer.

The bristles of the brush and contact of the floss or interdental brushes dislodges and disrupts the plaque reducing the changes of buildup and the likelihood of forming or worsening and periodontal disease or recession.

Whilst it might be repetition of the basics your dentist preaches, it is said for a very good reason.

You should be brushing twice a day, for at least 2 minutes a time.

Extra benefit comes from use of an electric toothbrush, but is not essential, a manual brush is better than nothing at all.

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Brush your teeth correctly

Have you actually thought about how you brush your teeth?

Are you very controlled in the brush movements or do you move the brush around the mouth fast at all different angles and positions?!

Believe it or not there is a right and wrong way to brush your teeth, but many do not know this, because they have never been shown the correct way to brush.

Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you.

Trust me when I say you can benefit your oral health more, by using the correct brushing technique than you can be switching between a manual or electric toothbrush.

Visit the dentist regularly

If you are not going for 6 monthly or at wort annual checkups with your dentist, you need to do something about it.

Dental fear is an issue, but most dentists can help with this, if you make them aware that you are not comfortable with a visit to their office.

Failing to get checkups can mean even greater dental fear when you need to have work done, because there is no other option and the cost for the treatment will too be higher.

The dentist is there to help you, no dentist wants to have to pull teeth or diagnose gum recession.

1 in 2 Americans (according to the CDC) 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. Routine dental checkups help catch any problems early with advice on the best corrective action.

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It can be easy to manage sensitive gums

If you happen to have sensitive gums, in a large proportion of cases the condition can be quite easy to manage and reverse.

Don’t panic about sensitive gums.  Whilst not what you want, unnecessary worry and panicking can actually make the condition worse, particularly if you then stab and poke at the affected area to ‘check’ the sensitivity.

If you have had sore gums and bleeding for many weeks or months, my 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.

Use a fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride is an additive within many toothpastes that is used to remineralize teeth, which helps strengthen dental enamel.

For adults, you should be aiming for about 1500ppm fluoride (check the back of your tube).

Spit, don’t rinse after brushing.

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Why use an electric toothbrush?

The main focus of this article has to been to offer up some suggestions of good electric toothbrushes to use, if you have sensitive or receding gums.

Of the options available, the better ones have been listed at the start of the article and I will be the first to admit, there are many others that could have been considered or included, but taking into account many factors, those shown are my best picks.

I shall now delve a little deeper and explain why you should use an electric toothbrush and why I made the selections I did.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to switch is it that 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

If simply by switching to an electric toothbrush you can remove as much as 21% extra plaque you would, wouldn’t you?

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.

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Other benefits include:

  • 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 different results
  • Fading bristles – Reminding you when to change your brush head
  • Value added features – Travel cases, apps & more
  • Relatively low lifetime cost

Let’s be clear though, there are negatives associated with the switch too:

  • Initial cost – More expensive than a manual brush
  • Short battery life and need to re-charge – Model dependant
  • Cost of replacement heads – Equivalent to the cost of a manual brush
  • Not always travel friendly – Not all come with travel cases or chargers that work internationally

For me, having used an electric toothbrush for many years, I personally believe the health and convenience benefits are greater than the negatives.

Price can for many be the biggest reason not to switch, but for less than $50 you can get a very good quality brush that can really improve your dental health.

If you have had sensitive gums, or are suffering right now maybe, is $50 worth paying if it can help relieve the pain and discomfort?  I would imagine some would pay a lot more.

Electric toothbrush – the features you need

Different models and brands of toothbrush today have a varying number of features.

The Sonicare DiamondClean Smart might be the best example of a brush with more features than you know what to do with.  An excellent brush, these added extras come at a price.

You do not need Bluetooth technology, but it can be beneficial.

When considering an electric toothbrush for sensitive and receding gums as a minimum you should have:

Built-in timer & pacer

All too common is the act of brushing for less than the dentist recommended 2 minutes.

A built-in timer and pacer encourage you to achieve this.

Most electric toothbrushes will come with a 2 timer on board, but no all do.

Better brushes will too have a pacer built-in.

At 30 second intervals, the brush will pause or give some indication that 30 seconds has passed.

The idea is you spend 30 seconds brushing the upper left teeth, followed by the upper right, bottom left and bottom right.

30 seconds spent brushing each quadrant, totals the 2 minutes.

By making use of this timer you can ensure the correct brushing time, but that teeth get a fair/even amount of attention.

It is then advisable to have:

Pressure sensor

A pressure sensor that triggers an alert via a light, vibration or an on-screen notification (model dependent) that you are brushing too hard.

The brush motor will normally decrease the power output as a result, increasing it once the pressure has been reduced.

Given that brushing too hard is a leading case of 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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Gum/Massage/Sensitive cleaning mode

Available on many brushes today, these modes are usually designed to operate at a lower and softer speed than the standard and more powerful cleaning modes on the brush.

The reduced speed decreases the pressure and sensitivity on the gums, so that you can brush more comfortably, but still benefit from the consistent motion and cleaning action the bristles offer.

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.

When opting for the bigger brand brushes, although you cannot see this unless you take out a magnifying glass, the tip of each bristle on the brush head is rounded or smoothed out rather than a rougher angle/edge that is commonly found on ‘cheaper’ heads.  This further helps reduce the impact and wear on the gums.

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.

Additional cleaning modes

Once you have taken control of gum recession or sensitivity, you might want to take advantage of the full power cleaning modes a brush cleaning modes that you might not have been able to withstand initially.

What about considering your partner or other family members in your decision process.

They might not need a sensitive or gum care mode but want a mode ideal for whitening or giving a deep clean to the teeth.

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The more you pay, the more accessories you tend to get.

Travel cases are in my opinion the best accessory, but other options include brush head storage compartments or extra brush heads.

Do consider whether these extras are actually of value to you.  You can potentially end up paying for things you won’t use.

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.

Bluetooth connectivity

Many, including some in the recommendations above come now with Bluetooth connectivity, which means you can connect your toothbrush to your smartphone wirelessly with the aid of a brand specific mobile application.

This technology allows you to log, monitor and track your cleaning as well as receive helpful updates and share with your dental professional.

Definitely not an essential features, but it can be very helpful in keeping that record, giving you the reminders and advice to brush better that you feel you need.

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Many features do come at a price, the more features the more expensive is generally the rule.

Many great value options exist and in few cases is it necessary to spend over $100.

If you want to and can afford to, then great.  But, $50 can get you a good brush, whilst $75 can get an even better option and normally the electric toothbrush that provides the best balance of features and price.

Pay what you are comfortable with given the features gained and what you can afford.

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.

There are many things to consider when trying to understand and select an electric toothbrush.  It can get very confusing, very quickly and the intention of this article is to help. But if you do need further assistance, then reach out to us here via our contact page or on our social media accounts, or speak to your dentist.


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.  You can learn all about them in the article Interdental Brushes – All you need to know.

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.

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 water flossers will give you a lot more insight.

Concluding Comments

If you are able to take steps to prevent recession or sensitivity before it occurs then great, but even if you have been diagnosed with such, you can take positive steps to improve your oral health and limit further recession.

The recession may well be permanent but it need not get worse if you can invest in a good oral hygiene routine, helped a lot by opting for an electric toothbrush and perfecting the brushing technique, you can see results of up to 21% reduction in plaque.

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 suggested options above provide something for all budgets and explain why they are worth your consideration and how they can help you on the road to achieving oral health you and your dentist can be proud of.

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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