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Best toothbrushes for receding gums
By David Cruickshank
“While it is vital that a toothbrush is efficient at removing plaque it is also important that the cleaning bristles don’t damage and wear away gum tissue and cause receding gums”.
What is gum recession?
Every tooth should have a minimum of two millimeters of healthy gum tissue surrounding and protecting the tooth root from bacteria and food debris. When gum recession occurs this layer of gum begins to vanish, exposing more of the tooth and root as it goes.
The most common cause of a receding gum line is gum disease, but it can also be a result of dental trauma, wearing braces and over-aggressive toothbrushing.
Gum disease is the most common cause of gum recession. It is estimated that about 50% of Americans over thirty years of age have gum disease and by the age of 65, 70% of the population have infected gums.
When gum disease is present, harmful bacteria begin to slowly destroy the protective tissue that surrounds the teeth causing the gums to pull away from the teeth. Although gum disease is destructive to the gums and underlying bone tissue it is usually completely painless and as a result, it can go unnoticed until the damage is done and the teeth roots become exposed. [Find out more about the stages of gum disease.]
Have your gums receded?
Although gum disease is often pain-free and unnoticeable, there are some tell-tale symptoms that can alert you that all is not well in your mouth. Common signs that you may be suffering from gum disease include –
- Bad breath.
- Traces of blood on your toothbrush.
- Foul taste in your mouth.
- Loose teeth.
- Your teeth appear visibly longer.
- Increased tooth sensitivity.
Best Toothbrushes for the management of receding gums.
Toothbrushes have an important role to play in the management of receding gums. While it is vital that the toothbrush is efficient at removing plaque it is also important that the cleaning bristles don’t continually damage and wear away the already fragile gum tissue. There are a number of characteristics that make a toothbrush suitable for the management of gum recession:
Type of toothbrush
There are many different types of toothbrush to choose from, and some are more suitable for receding gums than others. Although there is a large selection of sonic, rotary and hybrid electric toothbrushes as well as a huge number of manual brushes available, research suggests it is best to choose a brush that is soft and not overly aggressive. High powered electric brushes with stiff bristles are best avoided if you have advanced gum recession.
The material that the toothbrush bristles are manufactured from can have an impact of gum recession. So-called bristle-less toothbrushes that use soft rubber instead of nylon can be a good choice. Manufactures like Foreo and Periclean use soft rubber instead of nylon to ensure that the cleaning head will not cause any damage to the gum tissue.
Burst Oral Care infuses their bristles with Binchotan charcoal, while Radius uses soft vegetable-based nylon to create a gentle cleaning experience. Both these manufacturers would also be a good choice.
Some manufacturers design toothbrushes with angled and criss-cross bristles instead of flat trim bristles in an attempt to make them more efficient at removing plaque. Research has shown that although toothbrushes with angled bristles can be more effective they also have no negative effect on gum recession compared to straight bristles so it can be worth considering toothbrushes that use creative bristle configurations.
Studies have shown that hard toothbrush bristles can be stiff enough to damage teeth enamel that is in a weakened state. This can break the attachment between the teeth and the gums and contribute to recession.
People who have a high level of dental health from a lifestyle of good oral hygiene habits and a sensible diet should be able to use harder bristle brushes without causing any damage. But people who are suffering from gum disease should use a softer brush and focus more on cleaning every surface of every tooth thoroughly.
The Periclean toothbrush is radically different from the most run of the mill toothbrushes available.
Instead of nylon bristles, the Periclean features an array of high tech rubber cones that are designed to be exceptionally soft and gentle on gums and teeth enamel.
This toothbrush has been developed by Dr. Jack Gruber who has spent his career treating patients suffering from gum disease. Having spent 25 years working in the periodontal field Dr. Gruber believed there was a need for an ultra-soft toothbrush that could be used for the prevention and treatment of receding gums.
For people who have spent a lifetime brushing their teeth with hard nylon bristles, the Periclean toothbrush can seem very light and ineffective but research has proven it to be just as effective at removing plaque as any regular toothbrush. Plaque is actually quite easy to remove, provided it is cleaned away before it begins to harden and calcify. This means brushing teeth twice daily with a good and thorough brushing technique.
Research has shown that receding gums can be caused and exasperated by harsh nylon bristles and swapping to a bristle-less toothbrush like the Periclean can give the gums a chance to heal.
Radius Scuba Toothbrush
Not all toothbrushes are created the same and the award-winning Radius scuba is a toothbrush with a twist, quite literally!
The extra large, oval-shaped brush head is designed to give a superior clean. With a flexible neck, the radius toothbrush lets you target the hard to reach areas that are prone to tooth decay.
The bristles are made from soft, vegetable-based nylon that can last 3 x longer than your average toothbrush. The cleaning head is soft to the touch and the bristles are strategically positioned to provide an even pressure that reduces the chance of receding gums and toothbrush erosion.
The angled, flexible neck is key to the success of the Radius toothbrush. The easy grip handle and ergonomic design help you accurately control the pressure applied to your teeth helping to avoid gum recession and enamel wear.
Unlike other toothbrushes, the Radius Scuba is available in right-handed and left-handed versions. This means that everyone can take advantage of this uniquely designed toothbrush.
For environmentally conscious consumers, Radius is a brand worth checking out. They have an impressively holistic approach to the design, manufacture, and distribution of their products
Foreo ISSA Sensitive.
The ISSA 2 toothbrush is a shining example of classic Scandinavian design.
Swedish manufacturer Foreo has combined simplicity, minimalism, and functionality to produce a toothbrush that is different from anything else on the market.
This is a hybrid electric toothbrush which means that the ISSA oscillates at 11,000 movements per minute as you brush your teeth.
There is evidence to suggest that bristle material can be an important contributing factor in gum recession. The ISSA toothbrush uses soft silicone rubber bristles that are gentle on gum tissue and tooth enamel making it a great choice for people with receding gums or sensitive teeth.
According to studies, the more pores a material has, the more likely it is to collect harmful bacteria that can cause infections. The silicone bristles of the ISSA are non-porous so they carry far fewer bacteria than toothbrushes with nylon bristles. This makes the Foreo ISSA a more hygienic toothbrush that is perfect for people with gum recession because it gives greater protection against bacteria.
FOREO ISSA channels up to 11,000 high-intensity pulsations per minute to create micro-sweeps that effectively and gently clean the teeth and gums.
Curaprox is a bright and energetic brand that produce a colorful range of toothbrushes and oral health products.
As well as being a leading manufacturer, Curaprox is also an expert in the area of dental hygiene and regularly run training for health professionals like dental hygienists.
With a wealth of experience and knowledge about teeth cleaning and dental hygiene, Curaprox has developed a whole range of regular and specialist toothbrushes.
The quality, material, thickness, length, and angle of cleaning bristles are all key characteristics that contribute to the effectiveness of a toothbrush.
Curaprox set themselves apart from the competition by using their own patented bristles.
The diameter of a toothbrush bristle is an important attribute that defines the softness of a toothbrush. The Curen® bristles have a specific diameter of 0.1mm which is exceptionally fine compared to most toothbrushes. Curaprox uses these ultra-fine bristles in very dense formations to create a toothbrush cleaning head that is both effective and gentle on gums and teeth.
The popular Curaprox CS 5460 toothbrush is a good choice for people with gum recession. It has 5460 densely packed Curen® bristles that can gently remove plaque without causing any damage to the gum tissue or teeth enamel.
Best Toothbrushes for the prevention of receding gums.
Toothbrushes have a vital role to play in the prevention of receding gums. They are a necessary tool for the removal of the plaque bio-film that causes tooth decay and gum disease. However, a toothbrush can also have a negative effect on teeth and gums if it is poorly chosen or used.
Since your toothbrush is the first line of defense against the build-up of plaque and tartar that cause gum disease, it pays to spend a little bit of time choosing the toothbrush that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
Why electric toothbrushes are a great choice.
Recent research has shown that long term usage of an electric toothbrush reduces the chance of gum recession and tooth decay. A research team lead by Dr Vinay Pitchika, of the University of Greifswald in Germany studied a group of almost 3,000 participants over a period of 11 years and found that those who used electric toothbrushes averaged better levels of gum health and less incidents of tooth loss.
Sonicare DiamondClean Smart
The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart really is a toothbrush for the digital age.
Toothbrushes are getting smarter and the DiamondClean Smart is brimming with the kind technology and features that could raise your oral health to another level!
The DiamondClean Smart is similar in style and design to the popular DiamondClean Model. The DiamondClean toothbrush was released back in 2011 to rave reviews and critical acclaim and Philips has built on that success by adding on Bluetooth technology and an array of advanced features to the DiamondClean Smart model.
Removing plaque from your teeth and gum line every day is the key to avoiding gum disease, receding gums, and tooth decay. In order to maintain good oral health, plaque needs to be physically removed from every single tooth surface before it starts to harden and calcify. Switching to a DiamondClean Smart Toothbrush gives you the tools to perfect your cleaning technique to ensure that the maximum amount of plaque is removed during every brushing session.
Oral B Genius 9000
Oral B continues to push the technology envelope with its high-end Genius toothbrushes.
By analyzing how electric toothbrushes can both contribute to, and prevent gum recession Oral-B has implemented a set of features and safeguards to keep the gums healthy.
It is now generally accepted that brushing your teeth with too much force can damage gum tissue and teeth enamel. To counteract the possible effects of over-aggressive toothbrushing, the Oral-B Genius 3000 has a set of features designed to protect the teeth and gums.
Sensi Cleaning head
The Genius 9000 comes with Oral-B’s new ultra-soft Sensi cleaning head. By combining ultra-thin filaments with regular bristles, the Sensi cleaning head can easily disrupt plaque without causing any stress to the teeth and gums.
Pressure senser + smart ring
If you brush your teeth with too much pressure, there is a danger that you might damage your teeth enamel and gum tissue. To prevent users from unwittingly damaging their own teeth, the Genius 9000 has a pressure sensor control system that glows red to alert the user that they are being too aggressive with their brushing technique.
Gum Guard technology
The Bluetooth capability of the Genius 9000 enables the toothbrush to connect to Oral-B’s App and give real feedback on toothbrushing performance. This allows you to see when and where you are applying too much pressure to your teeth and gums.
Burst Oral Care offers a subscription service that provides oral health products like sonic toothbrushes, toothpaste and whitening stripes.
By delivering direct, Burst cut out the associated retailer costs to provide their products for less money than their competitors.
Although Burst are new to the toothbrush market place, they have already gained much support from dentists and dental hygienists.
In terms of brush movements, the Burst sonic toothbrush is currently the most powerful toothbrush on the market. Although the cleaning head moves 33,000 times per minute to give a powerful clean, Burst has combined this power with very soft bristles to keep the cleaning experience gentle.
Binchotan Cleaning bristles
Burst use a Polybutylene Terephthalate material for the bristles because of its durability and form when wet. To soften the texture, the bristles are infused with Binchotan charcoal.
Stages of gum disease and recession.
The most common cause of gum recession is poor oral hygiene [Click here to find out more causes]. Bacteria builds up around the teeth and causes the gums to become inflamed. The inflamed area then begins to literally eat away at the surrounding tissue causing the gum line to recede and disappear. Eventually the infection will reach the supporting bone tissue which will cause the teeth to become loose and fall out.
Symptoms Of Gum Recession
The first sign of gum recession is that there is noticeably less gum tissue around the teeth. As the name implies, gum recession will cause your gums to disappear and more of your tooth surface to show. Other symptoms of gum disease include the following –
- Bad breath
- Red and swollen gums
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Pain when you chew
- Gum sensitivity
Causes of gum recession
Although it is impossible to completely reverse receding gums, knowing the causes and putting a stop to them is a crucial step to preventing your gums from receding further.
If you brush your teeth with too much force it is possible that you might damage and wear away your gums.
It is best to avoid very hard bristle toothbrushes and stick to medium or soft options.
There have been some discussions suggesting that electric toothbrushes can contribute to teeth and gum wear but research has shown that there is no measurable difference between manual and electric toothbrush use.
Gums can be forced out of place by misaligned teeth.
Any injury that has caused trauma to the mouth can disrupt the gum line. Decorative mouth piercings can also wear away the gums and cause them to recede.
Poor oral hygiene
Bacterial plaque builds up on our teeth all day long. Removing this plaque effectively is the key to preventing gum disease and gum recession. If plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth surface it will cause the gums to become inflamed and infected.
Smokers have a much higher chance of developing advanced gum disease and gum recession.
Smoking can increase the amount plaque that is produced on the teeth every day. This makes good oral hygiene harder to achieve over the long term.
Smoking also decreases the production of saliva which inhibits the mouths natural ability to cleanse and balance itself.
Treatment Options For Gum Recession
If you are suffering from gum disease, whether it be advanced gum recession or just mild gingivitis, there are many treatments available.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist to find out your options. He may prescribe a course of action or he might refer you to a periodontist for specialized treatments.
There is a number of treatments available to patients ranging from minor scaling and root planing procedures to more advanced gum plastic surgery.
Our Authors & Contributors
A Bristle-Less Tooth Brush Reduces Recession Risk Over One Year Compared to a Conventional Soft Manual Brush
Boehm TK, Kim CS, Chui S, Franc J (2017) A Bristle-Less Tooth Brush Reduces Recession Risk Over One Year Compared to a Conventional Soft Manual Brush. J Oral Hyg Health 5: 221. doi: 10.4172/2332-0702.1000221
Vinay Pitchika, Christiane Pink, Henry Völzke, Alexander Welk, Thomas Kocher, Birte Holtfreter, Birte Holtfreter, First published: 22 May 2019, https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpe.13126
Giles I. McCracken, Lynne Heasman, Fiona Stacey, Fiona Stacey, Moira Swan, Nick Steen, Marko De Jager, Peter A. Heasman, First published: 15 October 2009