Which Electric Toothbrush Is Best For Gum Recession?

which electric toothbrush is best for gum recession

By buying an electric toothbrush you can prevent sensitivity when your brush and prevent the gums from receding further. But which is the best electric toothbrush for receding gums?

When it comes to brushing your teeth. It’s essential to prevent damage to the delicate gum tissue whilst effectively disrupting the plaque. Electric toothbrushes have been scientifically shown to be better at cleaning the teeth, reducing periodontal disease, and improving the health of the gums when compared to manual toothbrushes (2). Many have sensitive modes to prevent pain when cleaning those teeth where roots have been exposed. 

However, there are hundreds of electric toothbrushes on the market but which are best for gum recession?  We’ve included some of the best brushes on the market for receding gums. We’ve explained the qualities you need to look for in a brush if you decide to buy an alternative brush. 

Beat Gum Disease Now

The Best Electric Toothbrushes For Receding Gums

Oral-B’s Pro 3 3000 Series

In our opinion, the best toothbrush for gum recession doesn’t have the biggest price tag. Nor does it come with lots of features that won’t necessarily help your gums. Our favorite brush meets all our criteria for an electric toothbrush for receding gums.


  • pressure sensor & gum pressure control – protects your gums: automatically slows brush head speed and visibly alerts you by turning to red if brushing too hard
  • sensitive mode – perfect if your gums are sore
  • soft brush heads for a gentle effective clean
  • small head to reach the teeth at the back
  • 2-minute timer – so your clean for the recommended amount of time

This toothbrush won’t break the bank but it will effectively clean your teeth without causing further damage. 

If you don’t fancy this one there are many different types of electric toothbrushes. There are a plethora of fancy features available so it will be easy to find one that suits your specific oral health needs. Scroll down and see what features are available before you buy your electric toothbrush.

Is It Better To Choose An Electric Toothbrush Over A Manual Toothbrush For Receding Gums?

Yes, it is. Electric toothbrushes are better for gentle gum care and overall oral health. 

Electric toothbrushes gently disrupt plaque bacteria. This prevents periodontal disease, bone loss and gum recession whilst being gentle enough that damage and further wearing of the gum tissue are avoided. 

An 11-year study compared 7 different types of powered toothbrushes with manual brushing. It found that patients using the powered brushes had better plaque control.  The study also found that electric brushes stimulate blood flow and promote healthy gum tissue growth, more than manual toothbrushes (3).

How To Choose An Electric Toothbrush If You Have Receding Gums

Electric toothbrushes have evolved somewhat since the  ‘Broxodent’, the first electric toothbrush (in its current form) was invented way back in 1954 by Dr Phillippe-G Woog (4).

There are currently two categories of electric toothbrushes based on the action of the toothbrush head. Some have rotating-oscillating heads and others have a vibrating brushhead (sonic and ultrasonic).  

Then there are a plethora of features to choose from. It can be confusing when you look at them online or in-store. We take a look at some of these features and discuss if they are essential for those with gum recession. 

Types of Electric Toothbrush

Rotating-oscillating, sonic or ultrasonic and does it really matter? We’ll give you a brief overview and discuss that question at the end. 


This style of electric toothbrush was introduced in the 1990s by Oral B (5). It has a small round head which rotates and oscillates – the brush head rotates in one direction and then the other. As the brush head spins it cups each tooth and cleans all sides of the tooth. The brush cleans your teeth precisely and without unwanted pressure on your teeth. Very little manual effort is required to clean the teeth. 


Sonic toothbrushes have a brush head that resembles that of a manual brush. The brush head vibrates at high speed to move the bristles from side to side. Battery-powered brushes work in this way but they do not vibrate at fast enough speeds to be classified as sonic. To be classified as a sonic toothbrush, the vibration has to be fast enough to produce an audible hum. 

Sonic toothbrushes generally vibrate at up to 50,000 movements per minute. This breaks up plaque colonies on the tooth surface and fluid dynamics aid interdental cleaning.

> The Philips Sonicare range of toothbrushes including the Sonicare 3100 series are examples of sonic brushes that will gently clean your teeth. 


These electric brushes have a head shaped like a manual brush and use ultrasonic waves to clean the teeth. They operate at very high speeds of around 192 million movements per minute. Are very effective at cleaning teeth. They break up bacterial chains that make up dental plaque and can clean up to 5 mm below the gum line. 

There is some confusion in the marketplace.  If the toothbrush operates at a frequency or vibration of less than 20,000 Hz it is a “sonic” toothbrush. Not an ultrasonic.

> Megasonix is an example of an ultrasonic electric toothbrush.

Rotation-Oscillation vs Sonic

It’s widely accepted that electric toothbrushes are more effective at cleaning than manual brushes. So do you choose a sonic one or one that rotates and oscillates? Which is better for gum recession – Sonic care or Oral B? 

Several studies suggest that the rotating-oscillating brushes may be better than sonic and higher frequency brushes as they’re more effective in reducing gingival inflammation and plaque.

As both are better than a manual brush at cleaning the teeth, and both have many benefits it may come down to personal choice. 

However, the dentists behind the Gum Disease Guide recommend the rotating-oscillating variety. 

Essential Features For Those With Gum Recession

If you have receding gums with or without periodontal disease you need a toothbrush that disrupts the plaque in the gentlest way possible. Consider these features

Shape of Head

Rotating oscillating toothbrushes have a small round head. Vibrating or sonic brushes have brush heads similar to those found on manual toothbrushes which depending on your mouth can be difficult to access the back molars. To effectively clean around the molars at the back of the mouth a small head is required. 

Some sonic brushes do have brush heads which are angled to allow users to clean the teeth right at the back. If you opt for a sonic toothbrush and struggle to access all areas of the teeth at the back of the mouth choose a specially angled head. 

Two Minute Smart Timer

Dental experts around the world recommend that the teeth are cleaned for two minutes twice a day. Many brands include a handy 2-minute timer so you can be sure you have brushed for the recommended time. 

Some electric brushes have a quadrant timer – these alert the user every 30 seconds and you know to move to a different area of the mouth. 

Pressure Sensor

If your gum recession is caused by aggressive tooth brushing the pressure sensor is a handy tool. Many brushes have a visual coloured light that flashed if you’re pressing on too hard. 

More advanced electric toothbrushes have smart pressure sensors which signal with different colors to alert you if you’re brushing too softly, too hard or with the right amount of pressure. 

Bristle texture

Many scientific studies have shown that brushing with a soft brush head is just as effective at cleaning the teeth as a hard brush but causes less damage to the gums. Choose an electric brush with soft or medium bristles.  

Optional Features

Electric toothbrushes are becoming more and more intelligent just like many other products. These features push the price tag up and are not necessarily needed to prevent gum recession from getting any worse or help you clean without extra sensitivity. 

Brushing modes

Some brushes give you a choice of modes you can use depending on your needs that day. These include daily clean, pro clean, sensitive, whitening, gum care and tongue cleaning.  If you have gum recession the sensitive mode is very useful if your gums are feeling particularly sore. 

Artificial Intelligence Brushing Recognition

A newly added feature that could be great if you have areas of the mouth that are more problematic than others. Artificial intelligence monitors how you clean your teeth each day and guides you to brush better each day.  

Your dental hygienist may point out areas that need a little more attention or you could use disclosing tablets if you want to know how well you are cleaning without the additional cost of an electric toothbrush with AI. 


Whilst we don’t feel they are relevant to this post you may also be interested to know that some electric toothbrushes come with 

  • travel cases
  • automated brush re-ordering
  • charcoal infused bristles
  • foldable 
  • built-in tongue scraper
  • battery life – many brushes last 2 weeks from a single charge, others boast 6 months. 
  • USB charging / Magnetic charging
  • Bluetooth

Electric toothbrushes can be made from different materials. Some are more eco-friendly or sustainable than others. 

Depending on the brand the bristles are available in a range of materials including nylon, polypropylene and silicone

Best Sonic Toothbrush: The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100

We frequently get asked which Sonicare toothbrush is best for gum recession. This is our recommendation. 

This Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100 allows you to change intensities to allow you to brush with less intensity if your gums are feeling sensitive. It also alerts you if you’re brushing too hard by pulsing.  If you want to massage the gums and get the blood flowing to them it has a gum care mode perfect for this.

Its advanced sonic technology pulses water between your teeth, and its brush strokes break plaque up and sweep it away for an exceptional daily clean. 

It comes with lots of handy features such as smart technology, automatic brush head reordering and a quad pacer so you know when you have cleaned each quadrant of your mouth. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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

No, it doesn’t matter whether you use the cheapest electric brush or the most expensive as long as it has the features suggested above to carefully and gently disrupt plaque. It is also essential that you use it correctly for it to be effective.  

Is a smart toothbrush worth it?

In my opinion, no. However, if you have concerns that you aren’t cleaning every area of your mouth efficiently it could be beneficial. 

How much should you spend on an electric toothbrush?

There is no set price. As long as it will gently and effectively clean plaque away without damaging the gums. 

How much do electric toothbrushes cost?

Electric toothbrushes range in price from $24 up to around $300+. A basic toothbrush with a pressure sensor and timer will be adequate for most. 

Will an electric toothbrush help prevent further gum recession?

Yes, it will. 

Opting for an electric toothbrush with pressure sensors and/or automatic slowing of the brush head prevents further damage to the delicate gum tissue. 

Those who have gum recession due to periodontal disease will find that plaque is effectively disrupted. This helps prevent the progression or occurrence of the disease.  

Do toothbrushes cause gum recession?

Pressing on too hard with a manual or an electric toothbrush can wear away the gum tissue. Using an electric brush with a pressure sensor will prevent this from happening – providing you press on less hard when the sensor flashes red at you.  Many people ask if electric toothbrushes are bad for gum recession but they are better than manual toothbrushes as they gently clean plaque away. 

What Else Can You Do To Look After Your Gums?

Electric toothbrushes help prevent gum recession. But what else can you do to protect your gums?

Experts recommend that you 

  • brush the teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothbrush for 2 minutes. 
  • Carefully clean the interdental spaces with a single tufted toothbrush, interdental brushes or floss. 
  • Avoid rinsing with water or mouthwash after brushing with a fluoride toothpaste (find out in mouthwash can help prevent gingival recession.)
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet

If you would like to find out more about preventing the progression or occurrence of receding gums at home you can find out more here. 

Beat Gum Disease Now

References – Best Electric Brush For Gum Recession

  1. Receding Gums | CDA
  2. Long‐term impact of powered toothbrush on oral health: 11‐year cohort study
  3. Long‐term impact of powered toothbrush on oral health: 11‐year cohort study
  5. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies comparing oscillating-rotating and other powered toothbrushes – The Journal of the American Dental Association
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Written by Sharon Fyles

Periodontitis Expert & Writer

Sharon Fyles, BSc (Hons, SW), MSc, Dip,  is a Manchester-based expert dental writer specialising in periodontal diseases and their treatment.


Medically Reviewed and Verified by Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons), MFDS (RCPS Glasgow)

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