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Best Electric Toothbrush for Sensitive Teeth: Cost, Comparisons and Efficacy

Contributors:  

Shopping for the best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth can get confusing quickly. With so many different brands and types of electric toothbrushes on the market, which one is best for your sensitive teeth and gums? 

There are different brush heads, bristles, features and more! And they are all at different price points, which may or may not fit your budget. So how do you find the right one for both your needs and budget, without getting completely overwhelmed with options?

best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth
Are you wondering what the best sensitive electric toothbrush is?

We aim to give you all of the information you need so that you can find the best electric toothbrush for your dental needs, including our top recommendations for electric toothbrushes for sensitive gums, sensitive teeth or gum disease, and answers to the following questions. 

  • Should you use an electric toothbrush on sensitive teeth and receding gums?
  • What is the best type of electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth? 
  • Which electric toothbrush has a soft head? 
  • What is the best electric toothbrush for periodontal disease?
  • How do you know which electric toothbrush is best for you?

If you want to be able to thoroughly clean your teeth without causing them to feel more sensitive, painful and uncomfortable, or brush your teeth without inflaming your gums, keep reading while we discuss the best electric toothbrushes for sensitive teeth in 2022. 

The following table is a summary of all the electric toothbrushes that will be discussed in this article:

Best Electric Toothbrushes for Sensitive Teeth

Oral B iO

  • Smart technology to improve oral hygiene routine

  • Modes: 7

  • 3 modes suitable for sensitive teeth 

  • Gentle care brush head

Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige

  • SensIQ technology

  • Bluetooth connected with app

  • Modes: 5

  • and sensitive modeGum care mode

Oral-B Pro 3 3000 Sensi Ultrathin

  • Gentle brush head 

  • Modes: 2

  • Pressure sensor 

Oclean X Pro Elite smart brush

  • 4 modes: clean, sensitive, massage and white

  •  32 speed settings to choose from for your level of sensitivity

FOREO ISSA 3

  • Ultra soft silicone bristles

  • 8 vibration speeds

  • Optional tongue cleaner attachment

  • Built-in timer

But, before we get into which electric toothbrushes to use for different conditions, it's important to understand what can cause sensitive teeth and gums, as well as receding gums and gingivitis. 

What causes sensitive teeth and gums?

Sensitive teeth can be really uncomfortable and stop you from enjoying life to the fullest. Tooth sensitivity generally shows up as a sharp pain or a dull ache when you eat or drink hot and cold foods. 

It can also cause you to feel pain when you’re brushing your teeth, or even breathing in cold air. Some of the causes of sensitive teeth may also cause your gums to feel sore and inflamed. 

If the pain in your teeth and gums becomes intense or lasts for a prolonged period of time you should make a dental appointment. Underlying conditions that need professional treatment can be the cause of sensitive teeth, as well as the following:

There are many reasons that your teeth or gums may be sore or sensitive, and your oral hygiene routine can either make them better or worse. In the following video a dental hygienist explains some of the reasons you may have sensitive teeth:

Brushing too hard, or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can make your teeth and gums hurt more and cause gum recession. However, not brushing enough or at all won’t help to clear plaque build-up and clean your teeth which will result in gum disease and possibly tooth decay. 

So, finding the right oral care routine is an important aspect of resolving sore teeth and gums, but should you use an electric toothbrush on your sensitive teeth? 

Should you use an electric toothbrush on sensitive teeth and receding gums?

sensitive electric toothbrush
Use a gentle electric toothbrush on sore gums

If your sensitive teeth are caused by thin, worn down tooth enamel, then using an electric toothbrush with overly hard bristles that vibrates too much could make the condition worse. 

However, electric toothbrushes are more efficient than manual toothbrushes at cleaning your teeth and removing bacteria and plaque. Poor oral hygiene is one of the main culprits behind teeth and gum sensitivity, so it is important to be able to thoroughly clean your teeth and mouth. 

So the answer is to find not only a gentle electric toothbrush, but one that has bristles soft enough to not cause further damage to your tooth enamel and gums. 

What should you look for in an electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth? 

An ideal electric toothbrush for sensitive gums and teeth is one that you can adjust the power settings easily and has an extra sensitive brush head. Some of the features to look for include:

  • Sensitive or gum massage cleaning modes: These modes generally operate at a slower speed and a reduced pressure so that they don’t trigger sensitive teeth, or irritate sore and inflamed gums. 
  • Soft or ultra-soft bristles on the brush head: Bristle hardness can vary between brushes, and some of the top brands have specific brush heads for gum health and sensitive teeth. 
  • Pressure sensor: Toothbrushes with pressure sensors will let you know when you are pressing too hard.
  • Built-in timer: A timer will let you know when you have brushed for long enough, so you don’t under or overdo it!
  • Oscillating brush head: Studies have shown that oscillating brush head technology is slightly more efficient at removing plaque from teeth. 
  • Other cleaning modes: At some point, you may want to use your toothbrush on other modes, so it’s good to think ahead and give yourself options.
  • App connectivity: Apps can help you to improve your oral hygiene routine and tell you where you are not brushing enough. Improved brushing means you are more likely to reach all areas of your mouth to remove plaque and reduce gingivitis. 

What is the best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth and receding gums?

There is not one electric toothbrush that is perfect for everyone and their dental needs. It depends on their preferences as well as any dental conditions they may want to address, and of course their budget. 

In this article, we will share our top picks for certain conditions including:

We will also compare them so you have all the information you need to help you decide which toothbrush is best for you. 

What is the best toothbrush for sensitive teeth?

Our top picks for the best toothbrush for sensitive teeth include some of the best-known brands including Braun’s Oral-B and Philips Sonicare, as well as some lesser-known brands such as Oclean and FOREO. 

Let’s start with a couple of the top-of-the-range toothbrushes, which are at the high end of the scale when it comes to cost. 

You don’t need to get the best and most expensive toothbrush for your sensitive teeth and gums, but in this case, you get what you pay for and more premium brushes come with the most advanced features. 

Braun Oral-B iO

The Oral-B iO is a top tier electric toothbrush with modern technology and all the features. If you are looking for a toothbrush that does it all and qualifies for the best toothbrush for sensitive teeth and gums you wouldn’t be going wrong with this toothbrush. 

best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth and receding gums
The Oral-B iO

When it comes to catering for sensitive teeth it connects via Bluetooth to an app on your smartphone and uses 3D teeth tracking AI technology to help you improve your brushing habits. It also has a pressure sensor and 3 modes suitable for sensitive teeth and gums including: 

  • Sensitive 
  • Super Sensitive 
  • Gum care

The iO has the same oscillating brush movement technology as all Oral-B electric toothbrushes which means you are getting the best clean possible. And you can get Gentle Care brush heads for the iO, which are designed specifically for sensitive teeth and receding gums. 

You can read more about Braun’s Oral-B iO electric toothbrush in our full review here. 

Oral-B Pro 3 3000 Sensi Ultrathin 

sensitive teeth toothbrushes
The Oral-B Pro 3 3000 Sensi Ultrathin 

If you don’t want want to spend a lot but like the idea of an Oral-B sensitive electric toothbrush with oscillating brush head technology, then try the Oral-B Pro 3000 Sensi Ultrathin

It is a simple toothbrush with 3 brushing modes, daily clean, whitening and sensitive. In this case, the most important mode is sensitive. It has a built-in timer so that you can make sure to brush for the recommended 2 minutes, with 30-second reminders to change areas of your mouth. 

This toothbrush also features 360 ̊ gum pressure control technology which reduces the brushing speed and lets you know when you are brushing too hard. The best part about this sensitive electric toothbrush is the brush head, which features both extra soft bristles alongside regular bristles for a soft but deep clean.  

One benefit of Oral-B's range of electric toothbrushes is that you can get their Sensitive Clean brush heads for almost any of their electric toothbrushes. The exception is with the iO, where you will need to get the gentle care brush heads designed for that toothbrush.

FOREO ISSA 

foreo issa 3
The FOREO ISSA 3 in pink

FOREO is a Swedish company that focuses on technology and the use of silicone in its products. Their range of ISSA toothbrushes are made from silicone and feature sonic pulse technology that helps to break up plaque.

These toothbrushes are exceptionally good for sensitive teeth and gums because the silicone bristles are so soft and gentle. The brush heads also include a few normal bristles to help you thoroughly clean your teeth.  

We'd recommend the ISSA 3 toothbrush for sensitive teeth, but if you want to read more about the full range of FOREO toothbrushes you can see our full review here

Besides being made from silicone, the FOREO ISSA 3 also features 8 speeds to adapt to different sensitivities, has a built-in timer that lights up and vibrates every 30 seconds, and collects fewer bacteria than a regular toothbrush. 

If you are already considering buying a FOREO ISSA toothbrush you can get 10% off for a limited time by clicking below!

What is the best toothbrush for sensitive gums? 

Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige with SensIQ

As mentioned above, you don’t have to buy the most expensive toothbrush, with the most features. However, if you want the best you can buy then the Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige has every feature you could ever want in an electric toothbrush. 

This toothbrush's main feature that set it apart from other electric toothbrushes is the fact that it uses SensIQ technology. SensIQ technology includes the following features:

The Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige
  • Pressure sensor: This helps to ensure that you brush your teeth with moderate pressure.
  • Position sensor: Keeps track of how long you have been brushing each area.Scrubbing sensor: Helps you avoid over-scrubbing your teeth, which can cause enamel erosion.
  • 3D mouth map: This tool can help you become more aware of areas that are missed when brushing.
  • Adaptive intensity: Automatically increases or decreases intensity levels as you brush.
  • Artificial intelligence: Detects and records your brushing habits.

It is one of the best toothbrushes for sensitive gums and teeth, but it also has features for everything else you could want from a toothbrush as well, including: 

  • Bluetooth and app connectivity to help your brushing technique
  • SensIQ technology
  • 5 cleaning modes, 2 intensity settings
  • 4 different brush heads including gum health and sensitive
  • 3 built-in sensors
  • A smart ring that lights up when too much pressure is used

This toothbrush has a few other premium features that make it a high-end toothbrush. It doesn’t, however, have a mode specifically for sensitive teeth, instead it has a setting for gum health making it the best Sonicare toothbrush for receding gums.

FOREO ISSA Sensitive 

soft bristle electric toothbrush head
The FOREO ISSA Sensitive Set

The FOREO ISSA Sensitive has all the features of the other sonic toothbrushes in the ISSA range, except this one is designed specifically for those with sensitive gums. FOREO claims that when you use this toothbrush it is impossible to overbrush or irritate your gums. 

This gentle electric toothbrush is our top pick for the best electric toothbrush with soft bristles, because of the ultra-soft silicone bristles.

However, if you aren’t sure whether to get this brush because you may not have sensitive gums forever, don’t worry, it also comes with the hybrid brush head that the other ISSA sonic toothbrushes use. 

Remember that you can get a 10% discount on a FOREO ISSA toothbrush for a limited time by clicking below.

What is the best electric toothbrush for periodontal disease?

All of the toothbrushes mentioned above recommended for both sensitive gums or teeth would be suitable to use with periodontal disease. However, if you are looking for a toothbrush that has both the advanced features of a high-end brush but at a more affordable price, check out the Oclean X Pro Elite. 

Oclean X Pro Elite  

electric toothbrush soft head
Oclean's X Pro Elite in white

The Oclean X Pro Elite has all the features that well-known brands like Sonicare and Oral-B have, but for under £100. This might still be a mid-range toothbrush when it comes to cost, but if you are looking for app connectivity to help improve your brushing routine as well as features like a pressure sensor for cheaper, then this may be the brush for you. 

This electric toothbrush has a large colour touchscreen that you can use to program the speed setting you prefer out of 32 choices, and it will remember them each time you go to use your brush. 

While it doesn’t offer brush heads with gentle bristles, you can choose a low-speed setting so it doesn’t trigger any discomfort or sensitivity in your teeth and gums. It also has a sensitive mode that you can choose if your teeth and gums are feeling sore or sensitive. 

The app connectivity complete with 8 zone blind-spot monitoring will help to improve your brushing so that you can reduce plaque build-up and improve oral hygiene to help with periodontal disease. 

You can read more about Oclean’s full range of electric toothbrushes in our full guide here. Each of their brushes uses sonic technology rather than an oscillating head, but that doesn’t stop them from giving your teeth an efficient deep clean. 

Best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth summary

The following table summarises the differences and similarities between the electric toothbrushes discussed in this article.

Oral-B iO 9

Philips Sonicare  9900 Prestige

Oclean X Pro Elite

FOREO ISSA Sensitive Set

Oral-B Pro 3 3000 Sensi Ultrathin 

Price range

£££

£££

££

£££

£

Head type/technology

Rotating-oscillating with micro-vibrations

Side-to-side sonic vibration

Side-to-side sonic vibration

Sonic pulse

Rotating-oscillating with micro-vibrations

Smart technology?

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Timer

Yes, customisable

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Pressure sensor

Yes - and slows brushing speed

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Gentle bristles?

Gentle Care brush head

Premium Gum Care brush head 

No

Sensitive brush head and all brush heads have ultra soft silicone bristles

Yes

Settings

7 cleaning modes

5 modes and 3 intensities

4 modes and 32 intensities

8 vibration speeds

2 modes 

Unique features

  • Detailed tracking as you brush to help improve oral hygiene routine

  • 3 modes suitable for sensitive teeth and gums

  • Different heads available

  •  Bluetooth connection to tracking app to help improve oral hygiene routine

  • SensIQ technology 

  • Ultra quiet technology means the sound is less than 45dB

  • 8 zone blind-spot monitoring to help improve oral hygiene routine

  • 32 speed settings to choose from for your level of sensitivity

  • Silicone bristles ideal for sensitive gums and resist bacteria buildup

  • Sensitive mode available

  • Pressure sensors slow brushing speed when you are brushing too hard 

Where to buy

Conclusion

When shopping for the best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth and gums, the most important things to look for are sensitive settings and electric toothbrushes with soft bristles. However, if you want to make sure you have the best one for your needs then there are a few other features that you can look for. 

Electric toothbrushes with oscillating heads such as Oral-B’s range of electric toothbrushes are particularly good for periodontal disease and gingivitis because they have been proven to clean a little better than sonic toothbrushes. However, Sonicare toothbrushes have their advantages as well, you can compare these top brands in our article Sonicare vs Oral-B

App connectivity isn’t necessarily needed but if you want to improve your brushing technique and oral hygiene routine then you could benefit a lot from toothbrushes with this technology. Both the Oral-B iO and the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart are top of the range brushes with advanced features and beautiful designs.

But, if you aren’t interested in all the frills, then electric toothbrushes with pressure sensors and build-in timers are all you need for sensitive teeth and gums. Check out the Oclean X Elite Pro for a toothbrush that has all these advanced features but at a lower cost, or try one of Oral-B’s mid-range brushes that is compatible with the sensitive brush heads. 

If you are looking for the softest electric toothbrush you can find, then the FOREO ISSA range is without a doubt the toothbrush with the softest bristles. And if you want the sonic toothbrush from their range that is specifically for sensitive gums, then the FOREO ISSA Sensitive may be the toothbrush for you.

On the other hand, if you've checked out all of the brushes mentioned above, but you'd like a more natural, eco-friendly option, you can check out our review on bamboo electric toothbrushes.

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Contributors:
Amanda combines her medical background with her love for writing to bring you informed and accurate content at Dentaly.org.
Sources

International Journal of Dental Hygiene: The efficacy of powered toothbrushes :-A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis-. Consulted 31st December 2021.