Those with receding gums should pay extra-close attention to their dental hygiene — but the tools you use are just as important as how often you use them. According to Dr. Rhonda Kalasho, DDS, a dentist based in Los Angeles, “Electronic toothbrushes are highly recommended for patients with recession,” but receding gums “can be exacerbated by hard toothbrush bristles or hard-handed brushing.” As a result, an effective but gentle toothbrush is a must. I asked Dr. Kalasho which features result in the best electric toothbrushes for receding gums, and the consensus: The shape, bristle softness, and added sensitivity features should all influence your decision.
First, consider the shape. “I am a big fan of round-headed toothbrushes that oscillate because of their ability to fit in crowded or tough to reach spots,” Dr. Kalasho wrote to Bustle. There are a few great, round-headed electric toothbrushes on the market (like the ones listed below), but the majority of options offer the standard oblong shape. If you personally prefer those, you’ll still want to ensure that, despite their shape, they have the right bristle texture and sensitivity sensors.
Soft bristles result in a “low abrasivity on the enamel surface,” Dr. Kalasho explained, and as a result, those with receding gums should always seek out softer textures. Luckily, most electric toothbrushes use interchangeable heads that you can switch out depending on your needs, and most top-selling brands offer a soft-bristle option. Finally, the best electric toothbrushes for sensitive teeth “usually have a sensor on them that alerts you if you are brushing too hard,” Dr. Kalasho wrote. That way, you can ensure that you’re not exacerbating gum recession by using too much pressure.
Keep reading to see which electric toothbrushes meet all these criteria.
1. The Overall Best Electric Toothbrush For Receding Gums
“The Oral B iO currently takes my vote for the best toothbrush on the market, and possibly the best toothbrush I have ever used or owned,” Dr. Kalasho wrote. (In terms of the right features for gum recession, it offers all three: a round oscillating head, soft bristles, and a built-in pressure sensor.) Dr. Kalasho continued, “It has so many wonderful features like a deep clean option, a whitening option, a sensitive option, and even a tongue clean option. This toothbrush is truly top of the line; it is powerful yet gentle, and micro vibrates with oscillations for the most effective cleansing motion.” It’s fully rechargeable with a super sleek stand, and according to buyers, the battery life is incredible. Finally, if the built-in sensor detects that you’re brushing too hard, it glows a bright red.
One reviewer wrote: “Best electric toothbrush, bar none. Incredible for gum problems. A pragmatic approach to dental hygiene.”
2. The Best Affordable Gentle Electric Toothbrush
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, Oral-B’s Sensitive Gum Care electric toothbrush meets most of Dr. Kalasho’s criteria, but on a budget. While it doesn’t have a built-in sensor, this brush is specifically designed for use alongside sensitive gums: Its round head oscillates to break up plaque without irritation, and its bristles are soft to prevent abrasion — plus, you can purchase heads with extra-soft bristles, too. Finally, despite the price tag, it’s rechargeable, has a 30-second timer, and has earned a 4.6-star overall rating after more than 13,000 reviewers.
One reviewer wrote: “Had gum graft surgery as a teenager because of a receding gum line, so I wanted something that wouldn't make that issue worse. [...] I'm extremely happy with this purchase. It's a big step up over a manual toothbrush at a pretty low price, and I'd highly recommend it as an entry to the world of electric toothbrushes.”
3. An Affordable Oval Toothbrush
Its head is oval-shaped instead of dentist-recommended round, but this Philips Sonicare toothbrush is still a great value in electric toothbrushes, because it has all of the high-end features for a fraction of the price. That includes a pressure sensor that pulses when you’re brushing too hard, which is an exceptionally helpful feature for those with receding gums. It also gently removes plaque with sonic technology, has a two-minute timer so you know you’ve brushed long enough, and reminds you when it’s time to change out the head (which you can buy in ultra-soft bristle options for sensitive teeth). Last but not least, it’s rechargeable with a battery that lasts up to 14 days. No wonder it’s received five-star ratings from over 17,000 buyers.
One reviewer wrote: “It vibrates so I do not feel like it's damaging my gums (I have receding gums) and it holds a charge for a very long time. I am very happy with my purchase! I would recommend it if you're looking for a good electric toothbrush.”