Statistics show that almost half of US adults over 30 have gum disease, which includes gum recession. If you’re among them, you’ve likely realized that recession comes with its own set of oral hygiene challenges. Brushing consistently is one of the most important habits for gum health, but you want to make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job, since the wrong toothbrush can actually worsen gum recession.
But don’t worry, you’re in good hands. We’ve got all the crucial info you need to choose the perfect toothbrush right here. Here’s your guide to the best toothbrushes for gum recession.
Table of Contents
What Is Gum Recession?
Gum recession describes a condition where the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, exposing the root surfaces lower on your jaw. Sometimes, it’s a slow, gradual process, so depending on the cause, it might be difficult to tell when it’s happening. The most common signs are tooth and gum sensitivity, or teeth that look longer than usual, but other symptoms can include:
- Redness and swelling
- Bleeding after brushing or flossing
- Gum pain
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your dentist for an examination.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Gum recession can affect anyone, but it’s most common in people over 40 years old — especially people who smoke or have otherwise poor oral hygiene. Basically, anything that would put you at risk of other oral health concerns will also increase your risk of gum disease, including recession. Such as:
- Plaque or tartar buildup
- Existing periodontal disease
- Brushing too hard or using the wrong bristle firmness
- Dental misalignments
- Tobacco use
- Hormonal changes
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Lip or tongue piercings.
Best Brushes for Receding Gums
Brushing regularly is perhaps the most crucial habit for maintaining healthy gums, but having the ideal brush for your gum condition is important too. Make sure you should choose one with soft bristles, since medium and hard bristles can wear down both your enamel and gum tissue. Manual and electric toothbrushes are both effective, but electric ones can help you avoid brushing too hard, which can cause or exacerbate gum recession.
You can always ask your dentist for a recommendation, but here are a few electric and manual toothbrushes that we recommend if you’ve got receding gums:
Philips Sonicare 3 Series Gum Health
Philips is one of the biggest names in electric toothbrushes, and they’ve designed the 3 Series Gum Health model specifically for gum care. Their website says it’s clinically proven to reduce redness, swelling, and bleeding — all common gum recession symptoms — and remove 6X more plaque along the gum line than manual brushes.
With three different intensity settings, you can choose one that’s gentle enough for your sore gums, but still effective. Its $89.99 SRP is pricier than other electric brushes, but still a solid value for the features you get.
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100
This brush uses much of the same technology as the 3 Series Gum Health, and Philips says it’s also proven to improve gum health. Just like the 3 Series, the ProtectiveClean 5100 has three settings of various intensity, plus it has a pressure sensor that lets you know if you’re brushing too hard. At a $79.96 SRP, it’s slightly less expensive than the 3 Series, so if you like the pressure sensors, it could be a great deal.
Oral-B Pro 1000
Oral-B says they’re the #1 dentist-recommended brand worldwide, so it’s no surprise they make an electric model that’s great for gum health. According to their website, the Pro 1000 removes 300% more plaque along the gum line than a manual brush, and like the Sonicare ProtectiveClean, it’s got pressure sensors to prevent overly aggressive brushing, which can worsen gum recession. Plus, at $49.99, it’s a pretty affordable option.
WaterPik Sonic-Fusion 2.0 Flossing Toothbrush
For cleaning between the teeth, it’s tough to beat WaterPik. The company made its name on tools that replace floss with a jet of water, effectively rinsing plaque from those hard-to-reach places.
The Sonic-Fusion 2.0 combines an electric toothbrush and water flosser in one device. It’s got three cleaning modes and ten different settings for its water pressure. At $199, it’s more expensive than many other electric brushes, but if you struggle with flossing or want an easier flossing solution, that price might be worth it.
Curaprox CS 5460
The key to this manual toothbrush’s gum-friendliness is in its bristles. They’re finer and softer than regular toothbrush bristles, and instead of traditional nylon, they’re made from Curen, a patented material that’s designed to be gentle on the gums.
The Curaprox CS 5460 has 5,460 bristles on each brush head, making it as effective as it is gentle. Plus, they’re just $6.95 each — much more affordable than an electric brush.
When using a manual toothbrush, many people brush too hard, which can cause gum recession. Zent seeks to remedy that. Their Flex brush has a joint that clicks and bends when you brush with too much force, helping you keep pressure to a healthy level and protect your gums. Like the Curaprox, they’re less expensive than electric toothbrushes as well, just $6.49.
How to Prevent Gum Recession
The biggest problem with gum recession is that your gums won’t grow back, so once it starts, it’s tough to stop. But you can take measures to prevent it, slow it down, or replace your gum tissue.
The most common method for preventing gum recession is the same as preventing other oral health issues: good hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day will give you a great baseline of oral health. Also, don’t forget your twice-yearly dental examinations and cleanings, since your dentist will check your gums for signs of recession during the visit. If they catch it early, they can start treating it sooner.
Quitting tobacco is a healthy choice in general, but especially for your gums, since smoking or using smokeless tobacco can significantly increase your chance of gum recession. And if you have a dental misalignment, straightening your teeth can help too. Misaligned teeth have thinner gums, or cause uneven pressure on certain parts of the gums, causing recession.
If you have bruxism (grinding or clenching), a night guard will protect your teeth and gums. And lip or tongue piercings can irritate the gums, potentially wearing them down, so just monitor the area around your oral piercing — or avoid getting one if you already have gum issues.
Treatments for Gum Recession
Of course, if you already have advanced gum recession, a specialized toothbrush can’t bring that tissue back. Fortunately, there are some surgical and non-surgical treatments your dentist or periodontist can provide.
If your recession stems from another periodontal disease, your dentist might treat that underlying condition with an antibiotic or scaling and root planing — deep cleaning methods that remove tartar from the surfaces of your teeth and beneath the gum line. If a dental misalignment is causing the recession, they might refer you to an orthodontist for treatment.
In more severe cases, the dentist or periodontist might recommend a soft tissue graft, where they’ll remove tissue from the roof of your mouth or other gums and use it to replace the tissue you’ve lost. If you’ve lost some of the bone that supports your teeth, they might also recommend regeneration, where they’ll fold back your gum tissue and apply a tissue-stimulating protein to encourage regeneration.
Gum recession can be a serious concern, but the good news is that you’ve got plenty of ways to prevent it or slow it down. Remember to keep a consistent oral hygiene routine, and visit your dentist twice per year, and you’ll be on the right track to excellent gum health.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know if you have receding gums?
The most common signs are tooth and gum sensitivity, or teeth that look longer than normal. However, other symptoms include gum redness, swelling, bleeding, bad breath, and loose teeth.
Can gums grow back?
Unfortunately, no. However, a gum graft can replace it with tissue from the roof of the mouth or other gums.
How do you fix receding gums?
If you have a minor case, you can take measures to slow it down, like maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine, getting any underlying periodontal diseases treated, or getting your teeth straightened. In severe cases, a dentist or periodontist can perform scaling and root planing procedures, soft tissue grafts, or attempt bone regeneration.
How do I stop gum recession from getting worse?
Oral hygiene is key. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day goes a long way in preventing gum recession, plus a host of other oral health issues. And don’t forget to visit your dentist twice a year, since they’ll check for recession and provide any necessary treatments.
Does brushing cause gum recession?
Brushing doesn’t inherently cause gum recession, but brushing too hard — or with the wrong type of brush — can. It might seem like brushing hard would scrub away plaque more effectively, but it can actually wear down your enamel and gums. Also, dentists say most people should use a soft-bristled brush, since medium and hard bristles can also erode enamel and irritate your gums.
How fast do gums recede?
It can occur gradually over several months, but if you have an advanced periodontal disease, it might also happen faster. Since it’s not always easy to recognize, pay close attention to your gum line, especially if you have a history of gum issues.
How do I strengthen my gums?
The same way you keep the rest of your mouth healthy — brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and making twice-yearly dental appointments. You can also use a therapeutic mouthwash, and if you use tobacco, quitting helps.
Does gum recession mean your teeth will fall out?
Not always, but it can. If your gums recede far enough, it can damage the bone structures around your teeth, causing them to fall out.
What does gum recession look like?
Since gum recession proceeds upward or downward from the gum line, it often looks like your teeth are getting longer. You might notice pockets between the teeth and the gum line, or red, swollen, bleeding gums.