Receding Gums? Best Electric Toothbrush and Head to Use!


Photo of: Gum recession process. Medically accurate 3D illustration

For my patients who have receding gums and root exposure, I always spend extra time with them discussing home care that is specifically tailored to gum recession. I always focus on the main tools, the brush and the brush head. By using the best tools, you can prevent more damage and disease.

The best electric toothbrush for receding gums is one that has a round head that oscillates, rotates, and pulsates with extra soft bristles and also includes a pressure sensor. Using an Oral-B electric toothbrush along with an extra soft toothbrush head is the best combination for receding gums.

Using the wrong tools can lead to more gum recession, cause damage to the tooth surface, and can increase cavities, bad breath and gum disease.

In this post, I will go over the best brush and brush head to use (it is what I am using currently), as well as the proper techniques to use when gum recession is present and some other important tips and tricks that I give my patients in my dental chair!

The best electric brush and brush head to use for receding gums

When you have gum recession and root exposure, preventing further damage is top priority. The gum tissue cannot grow back and the damage already done cannot be reversed. The most important step to preventing further tissue loss is to improve your oral health, by using the best tools for the job, along with proper technique.

The toothbrush base is not as important as the toothbrush head. The bristle type, softness, direction and motion have the most impact on our gum health. 

The best electric toothbrush is an Oral-B that has a pressure sensor along with an extra soft brush head. I go over the ones I use myself and recommend to my patients below.

Oral-B electric toothbrush; the best for receding gums

Oral-B electric toothbrushes are the best on the market. There is a huge competition between Sonicare and Oral-B, however, when you get down to the science Oral-B is superior.

If you want to know more about why Oral-B is the better option over Sonicare, I wrote a whole post on the topic which you can find linked below. I compare budget-friendly, mid-range, and premium models of each brand, including scientific research, so you can decide which model is best for you!

Read Now: Hygienist Compares: Sonicare vs. Oral-B Electric ToothbrushesOpens in a new tab.

What to look for in an electric toothbrush for receding gums;

  • Visual pressure sensor
  • 2-minute timer
  • Option to use extra-soft brush heads

The pressure sensor is one of the most important parts of the toothbrush when you have gum recession, and root exposure! Brushing too hard can cause more gum to be lost and tooth surface to be worn away!

Make sure you get one that has a pressure sensor. The lowest models (Oral-B Vitality and Pro Series) do not have a pressure sensor, so please do not buy these ones.

For me, I recommend either the mid-range Oral-B GeniusOpens in a new tab. or if you want the premium brush, the Oral-B iOOpens in a new tab.. I have used both, and both are an amazing choice!

Oral-B Genius

This is the toothbrush I most commonly use. It is not the cheapest, but not the most expensive. It has everything you need in an electric toothbrush;

  • pressure sensor
  • 2-minute timer
  • the option to use an extra soft brush head

You can even link it to an app on your mobile phone to get feedback on your brushing. There are other perks of the app as well, such as monitoring progress over time and reminders of when to change your brush head (every three months).

Oral-B iO

The Oral-B iO is the newest Oral-B electric toothbrush on the market. It has all the bells and whistles and is SUPER quiet. The iO is revolutionary for the Oral-B brand and is much more aesthetically pleasing and technologically advanced than any other Oral-B electric toothbrush on the market.

In the app, it 3D tracks you in real-time to see how you are brushing, where you are missing and will prompt you to brush better!

The Oral-B iO’s only downfall is that only iO brush heads will fit it. No other Oral-B electric toothbrush heads will fit it.

I just recently got this toothbrush and I made a video all about this brush if you are interested. You can find it below!

Switching from a manual to an electric toothbrush can be life-changing and this one small change can prevent SO much damage to your mouth! Linked below is a post I wrote about the benefits of using an electric toothbrush!

Read Now: 12 Benefits of Using an Electric ToothbrushOpens in a new tab.

Extra-soft electric brush heads: the best for receding gums

Depending on what model of Oral-B you are using, the brush head best for receding gums will differ.

The best electric toothbrush head for receding gums is an extra-soft brush head. Soft is okay, but extra soft is best.

Extra soft brush heads are the better options because the softer the bristles, the more they will gently contour around the gums and teeth surfaces. This allows them to cover more surface area, bend into the natural curvatures of the teeth and clear away more gum-disease-causing bacteria!

Because the bristles bend more, it reduces the pressure on the gums and teeth, preventing them from being worn away!

Oral-B Sensi Ultrathin replacement electric toothbrush head
Oral-B Sensi Ultrathin electric toothbrush head

Oral-B electric brush head

If you are using any of the Oral-B electric toothbrushes (except the iO) the Sensi Ultrathin brush head is the best one on the market. This brush head is a game-changer and is a much-improved version of the sensitive brush heads.

Oralb iO replacement brush head gentle clean
Oral-B iO electric toothbrush head – gentle clean

Oral-B iO electric brush head

If you are using the Oral-B iO, then you will want to use the Gentle Care brush heads. The bristles of this brush head are specially designed to contour and adapt around the curves of the gums and teeth surfaces (including exposed root surfaces) and are extra-soft!

You can find these gum-safe brush heads in the link below, they come in a pack of two.

When looking for brush heads to use, PLEASE do not buy the generic ones. Buy the brand-name product! Using fake/generic named brush head replacements can cause even more damage to the gums and tooth surfaces! Some of them use crappy materials, some don’t work properly, and they have not had the years of research and testing behind them to make sure they are effective.

Read Now: The Correct Way to Use an Oral-B Electric ToothbrushOpens in a new tab.

How to stop receding gums from getting worse

To avoid the advancement of receding gums, be sure to brush twice a day and floss once a day at least. Use an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor to ensure that you are not applying too much force on the gums. See a dental professional for a cleaning and consultation to rule out other causes.

Are electric toothbrushes bad for gum recession?

Electric toothbrushes are not bad for gum recession. Using an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor will signal when your brushing is too hard to aid in proper brushing technique. Using an electric or manual toothbrush incorrectly and too aggressively can contribute to gum recession.

How fast does gum recession progress?

Gum recession progression happens gradually over many years. If gum disease is uncontrolled and oral hygiene routines are poor, it will speed up the progression of receding gums. Regular dental hygiene visits and proper home care can reduce and stop gums from receding and prevent tooth loss.


When walking down the oral health aisle in the store, there are SO many products it can be so overwhelming, with each product advertising it does multiple things.

Most of the time, the simplest things are the most effective. Using a good quality product that had been tried and tested over decades is always the way to go. So I hope this post has steered you in the right direction!

Happy brushing!

Holly 🙂

Holly Verran RDH

I have been a Registered Dental Hygienist in Ontario, Canada, since 2014. I currently hold registration and good standing with the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario and the Canadian Dental Hygiene Association.

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