Can Electric Toothbrushes Cause Gum Recession? | Edmonton (2024)

Picking an Electric Toothbrush

Visiting your dentist for routine dental exams and cleanings is crucial for preventing and treating oral health problems. However, your everyday dental care also plays a significant role. Caring for your teeth and gums at home takes many forms, but the best-known practice is probably brushing your teeth.

Toothbrushes are available in a range of types, including manual and electric. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Picking the best toothbrush can help you avoid dental problems, like dental bleeding or gum recession. So are electric toothbrushes better for cleaning teeth, or can they cause gum recession?

What Is Gum Recession?

Teeth are made of the strongest materials in your body, particularly the outer layer of teeth (enamel). While they help you chew, grind, and rip food, teeth also help you speak clearly. However, your teeth can’t do it all alone. They need the support of healthy oral tissue, including your gums.

Gums should fit closely around the anatomical crown (top part of the tooth). Healthy gums are pink, firm, and don’t bleed easily, even when flossing. However, occasional bleeding can occur, even in healthy gums, if you use a hard-bristled brush or “snap” your dental floss against your gums.

Receding gums (gingival recession) occurs due to periodontitis, a severe stage of gum disease or trauma that can be caused by toothbrush abrasion. Recession whether due to infection or trauma exposes the root surfaces, which are softer and more prone to decay. As a result, your gums can’t effectively support the teeth and bacteria can get trapped in the growing gaps.

Gum recession also increases the risk of infection and can lead to tooth loss. Symptoms of receding gums due to infection typically include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Exposed roots
  • Gum swelling or pain
  • Loose teeth
  • Visibly shrinking gums

Symptoms of trauma from toothbrush abrasion typically include:

  • Root wear
  • Root decay
  • Exposed roots
  • Tooth sensitivity

What Causes Gum Recession?

Gum recession is most commonly a result of gum disease, a dental problem affecting 70% of Canadians. Preventing plaque is crucial for preventing gum disease and dental issues.

Plaque is a clear, sticky substance containing bacteria that forms on teeth. Daily brushing and flossing can remove most plaque, but sometimes excess plaque remains, hardening into dental tartar (calculus). Only a dental professional can remove tartar. Over time, the bacteria inside tartar damage the gums, leading to gum disease.

Other common causes of gum recession include:

  • Toothbrush abrasion
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal changes
  • Smoking

Most additional causes of gum recession also increase your risk of developing gum disease. Sometimes, it can be a “chicken or egg” situation, where it’s unclear which came first. Preventing gum disease and practicing healthy oral habits are crucial for maintaining healthy gums.

Can Electric Toothbrushes Cause Gum Recession? | Edmonton (1)

Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush

Both electric and manual toothbrushes can remove plaque to help prevent gum disease. However, electric toothbrushes have an advantage, as micro-movements are more effective than manual movements. Notably, rotating electric toothbrushes and vibrating electric brushes are better at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes.

Electric toothbrushes are generally considered safer for gums. In addition, soft bristles are recommended over hard bristles, regardless of toothbrush type. As aggressive brushing can lead to gum recession, an electric toothbrush with better, soft bristles can be superior for gum health.

People using manual toothbrushes are more likely to brush too hard. With a manual toothbrush. you may feel you have to apply more pressure or use broader, horizontal strokes to remove plaque. An electric toothbrush can encourage gentler pressure and more careful, smaller motions.

Electric Toothbrush: Pros & Cons

Electric toothbrush advantages include:

  • A rotating motion for effective plaque removal
  • Broad availability of various brush head sizes and types
  • Built-in timers to ensure you brush for at least 2 minutes
  • Built-in pressure warning
  • Easier for handicapped to use due to less movement

Some disadvantages include:

  • More mess as the motions tends to spread saliva and toothpaste
  • Higher cost (compared to manual toothbrushes)
  • Requires electricity or batteries to operate

Can Electric Toothbrushes Prevent Gum Recession?

Rotating electric toothbrushes with soft bristles can be better for removing plaque without harming your gums. But a manual toothbrush with soft bristles may be better for your unique dental care needs.

Some people don’t like the feeling of an electric toothbrush. Therefore, you might be more motivated to brush consistently with a manual toothbrush. Whichever toothbrush type you prefer, consistently brushing with proper technique is essential for preventing gum recession.

It’s also crucial to remember that neither an electric nor manual toothbrush can replace flossing. Toothbrushes effectively remove buildup on teeth’ front and back surfaces but can’t easily reach between. Brushing harder or pushing bristles between teeth isn’t the same as flossing.

Knowing how much pressure is enough can be challenging, particularly with manual toothbrushes. Talk to your dentist about your brushing routine or ask for a demonstration for a pressure reference.

Discuss Toothbrushes with Your Dentist

There are a lot of toothbrush options. Discuss your toothbrush choice with your dentist or dental hygienist. While your dental hygienist will provide a recommended manual toothbrush at your next dental exam and cleaning, you’re welcome to ask about electric options! We can make a recommendation based on your personalized oral health needs.

Request an appointment at Southgate Dental Centre today to discuss your dental care.

Can Electric Toothbrushes Cause Gum Recession? | Edmonton (2024)


Can Electric Toothbrushes Cause Gum Recession? | Edmonton? ›

Scrubbing back and forth with an electric toothbrush can irritate and wear away at your gums over time, resulting in receding gums

receding gums
Gingival recession, also known as gum recession and receding gums, is the exposure in the roots of the teeth caused by a loss of gum tissue and/or retraction of the gingival margin from the crown of the teeth. › wiki › Gingival_recession
. Instead, simply guide your toothbrush along your teeth at a 45 degree angle to your gums – the ideal angle for sweeping away plaque from the gum line.

Do electric toothbrushes make gums recede? ›

Electric toothbrushes are generally considered safer for gums. In addition, soft bristles are recommended over hard bristles, regardless of toothbrush type. As aggressive brushing can lead to gum recession, an electric toothbrush with better, soft bristles can be superior for gum health.

How can I use an electric toothbrush without damaging my gums? ›

To prevent gum damage, it is advisable to choose a soft or extra-soft brush head, use gentle circular motions, and allow the bristles to do the work without exerting excessive force.

Is my toothbrush making my gums recede? ›

Any toothbrush that is too hard or stiff can damage your gums over time. Over-brushing or “scrub brushing” with stiff bristles is one of the leading causes of gum recession, a common dental problem that exposes sensitive roots.

What is the best electric toothbrush for receding gums? ›

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.

What are the side effects of electric toothbrushes? ›

Electric toothbrushes can cause increased tooth sensitivity, especially if you are using them too aggressively. The high-frequency vibrations can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away, exposing the more sensitive dentin layer beneath. This can lead to increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.

Is it bad to use an electric toothbrush every day? ›

Using an electric toothbrush won't damage your teeth — but misusing one can lead to tooth damage, sensitivity, and gum recession.

Should you use an electric toothbrush if you have periodontal disease? ›

Gums are protected from brushing too hard – brushing too hard can cause gums to become inflamed and irritated. An electric toothbrush does all the work for you, so you aren't left scrubbing your gums and causing them to be irritated.

Can receding gums grow back? ›

The simple answer is, no. If your gums are damaged by, for example periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease, it's not possible for receding gums to grow back. However, even though receding gums can't be reversed there are treatments that can help to stop the problem from getting worse.

How to reverse gum recession? ›

Gum recession treatment largely depends on what caused the condition. Mild cases of gum recession may be improved with nonsurgical treatments, such as topical antibiotics, dental bonding or orthodontics. In most instances, however, gum recession surgery is needed to fully correct the problem.

What is the new treatment for receding gums? ›

The pinhole gum rejuvenation surgery is a game-changer in addressing receding gums and is utilized by very few dentists in Charlotte because it is such a new technique. The gum rejuvenation treatment is completely safe and is actually less invasive and traumatic than traditional gum grafting.

Can an electric toothbrush make receding gums worse? ›

Scrubbing back and forth with an electric toothbrush can irritate and wear away at your gums over time, resulting in receding gums. Instead, simply guide your toothbrush along your teeth at a 45 degree angle to your gums – the ideal angle for sweeping away plaque from the gum line. Using too much pressure.

Is Oral-B or Sonicare better for gums? ›

According to a NCBI research-based article where Sonicare and Oral-B electric toothbrushes were compared, it stated, “Overall, this study demonstrates that long-term use of these two electric toothbrushes improves periodontal health in adult periodontitis patients, and that the Sonicare brush is superior to the Braun ( ...

What aggravates gum recession? ›

Sweets and other sugary items

Almost all sugary items are bad news for your teeth and gums. Sugary items promote the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, worsening gum recession or causing decay. Avoid donuts, candy, energy drinks, cake, and chocolate.

How to brush teeth to avoid gum recession? ›

Don't brush roughly when trying to get all the grub and plaque away. Instead, massage your brush into your teeth with gentle pressure, moving slowly and methodically around your teeth. Use short motions, about one tooth wide, to reduce the friction on your gums.

Are electric toothbrushes better than manual for receding gums? ›

Electric toothbrushes offer adjustable speeds and pressure settings, so you can customize your brush to your needs. Manual toothbrushes, on the other hand, generally have softer bristles that are gentler on sensitive gums, while harder bristles can damage your receding gums over time.

Why do my gums recede so easily? ›

Gum recession is when your gum tissue pulls away from your teeth, exposing the roots underneath. It's caused by a number of factors, including aggressive brushing, smoking and even genetics. Treatments include antibiotics, antimicrobial mouth rinses and surgery.

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