Alternating Your Electric Toothbrush With an Ultra-Soft Manual Is Great for Gum Health

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Dentists can't stop recommending electric toothbrushes—and for good reason. You get a far more efficient clean with an electric toothbrush than with a manual. They're perfectly fine to use twice a day, and many dentists recommend that you do. But dentists remind you not to brush too hard, and say to consider alternating use with an ultra-soft manual toothbrush.

"The key to using an electric toothbrush is to let the toothbrush do the work," says cosmetic dentist Joseph Field, DDS. "I often see patients who use an electric toothbrush like a manual toothbrush and still scrub their teeth with it while it's on. This can create too much force on the gums and potentially lead to gum recession." Instead of scrubbing, just gently glide your electric toothbrush across your teeth and let it do the work.

Experts In This Article

Cosmetic dentist Brian Harris, DDS, explains that gum recession can expose the root of the tooth, which isn't as strong as the rest of your tooth and is more cavity-prone.

"In a healthy mouth, the most common cause of gum recession is mechanical recession caused by toothbrush bristles being too firm or from brushing your teeth too hard," says Dr. Harris. "When a mouth is not healthy, you will notice that the gums are inflamed. This means that there are bacteria present in the mouth causing gingivitis and in some cases periodontitis which causes the gums to recede because of the bone loss around the teeth."

If you have sensitive gums, know you're an overly hard brusher, or just want to be super cautious, Dr. Harris says you can alternate using your electric toothbrush with an ultra-soft manual toothbrush.

"I personally alternate between brushes. At night I use an electric toothbrush and in the morning I use a nano-soft-bristled manual toothbrush from Klen Products," says Dr. Harris, who is the founder of Klen Products. "The soft bristles are great for the gums and prevent them from receding."

Dr. Harris notes that there are many different types of soft-bristle brushes available that are better fro gum health than traditional toothbrushes.

Ultra-soft toothbrushes are best for your gum health

Colgate Gum Health Extra Soft Toothbrush for Sensitive Gums with Deep Cleaning Floss-Tip Bristles — $13.00

Get four of these extra-soft toothbrushes from Colgate. The floss-tip bristles are ultra-slim and, according to the brand, gently clean 2.4 times deeper between teeth than ordinary Colgate flat trim toothbrushes. They also lead to 300 percent better gum health improvement and significantly less gum irritation and gum bleeding when compared to a regular Colgate flat-trim toothbrush.

Klen Products Nanosoft Bristle Toothbrush — $8.00

Available in blue or white, the Klen Products Nanosoft Bristle Toothbrush has bristles that are positioned on the brush at different lengths, which Dr. Harris says allows them to reach areas that traditional brushes cannot. “Think of sweeping the floor with a hard bristle broom versus one with more densely packed softer fibers,” says Dr. Harris. “The hard bristles are able to pick up more of the big stuff where the softer bristles will get more of the dust and fine particles.”

Oral-B Sensi-Soft Ultra Soft Toothbrushes — $7.00

The Oral-B Sensi-Soft Ultra Soft Toothbrushes gently yet effectively clean your teeth and gums. Get two in this twin pack.

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