The Best Electric Toothbrushes for Sensitive Teeth


A healthy smile makes us feel more confident, look more attractive, and it reflects the state of our health. If our teeth are discoloured, or we have bad breath, this can hint at problems elsewhere in our body, or the need to simply take more care of our oral health.

How to have better oral health

Brush your teeth at least twice per day

Brush your teeth first thing (wait 30 minutes after your breakfast), and last thing at night. Make sure that you reach all of the surfaces of the teeth, and that you brush for at least 2 minutes, using a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger, so the teeth become more resistant to decay. Change your toothbrush every 2-3 months if you are using a manual toothbrush, you might get a little longer out of an electric toothbrush before you have to replace the head.

Use mouthwash

Rinse your mouth for around 20-30 seconds. Try not to use mouthwash straight after brushing as you might rinse away the protective fluoride from the toothpaste.

Floss

Clean in between your teeth to remove food particles at least once per day using interdental brushes or floss.

Don’t smoke

Smoking can cause tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer.

Visit your dentist regularly

Get regular check-ups, ideally every 6 months. Your dentist can identify any oral problems, including signs of oral cancer, and they can give you tips on effective cleaning and good oral hygiene.

Be smart with food and drinks

It’s a good idea to chew sugar free gum which will help your mouth to produce saliva that washes away bacteria that cause plaque. Eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fruit and vegetables to boost gum health.

Eating cheese after a meal can reduce the amount of damaging acids in the mouth.  

Avoid sugary snacks. If you must have something sugary, have it at mealtimes, when it won’t affect the teeth so much.

Common dental problems

A healthy mouth is one where teeth are clean and free of debris, gums are pink, healthy looking, and don’t bleed, and you don’t have bad breath. If you do have problems with bleeding gums or persistent bad breath, you may have a dental problem.

Dental problems can be unpleasant, but luckily, most of them can be prevented by brushing and flossing regularly, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist for check ups.

Here are some of the most common dental problems.

Bad Breath

Bad breath can be embarrassing, and it is usually caused by poor oral hygiene or an underlying health issue. Gum disease, dry mouth, oral cancer, and the growth of bacteria on the tongue can all cause bad breath. Visit your dentist for advice and treatment of any issues.

Tooth Decay

This occurs when plaque forms on teeth, then combines with sugars and starches from the food we eat. It then begins to wear down the enamel on the teeth. Practise good oral hygiene to prevent plaque from forming. Brush twice per day, floss daily, and get regular dental checks.

Gum Disease

Worryingly, studies have shown that gum disease is linked to heart attacks and strokes. Gum disease is an infection in the gums and it is a major cause of tooth loss. Again, good oral hygiene is the key to prevention.

Ulcers and other mouth sores

Although they can be painful and annoying, sores should go away on their own and you should not be too concerned unless they last for more than 2 weeks. See a pharmacist for topical treatments to use to relieve pain.

Tooth Sensitivity

If you experience pain when eating or drinking hot or cold foods, or when your teeth are exposed to cold air, you probably have sensitive teeth. Various treatments and toothpastes are available that are specially formulated for sensitive teeth, speak to your dentist about possible solutions.

Sensitive teeth

If you have ever experienced that familiar twinge after eating

If you have ever experienced that familiar twinge after eating something cold or drinking a hot drink, you will know how unpleasant having sensitive teeth can be.

What causes sensitivity?

The teeth are covered in a layer of hard enamel which protects

The teeth are covered in a layer of hard enamel which protects the softer layers underneath. If the enamel is damaged or worn away, even slightly, the layers underneath can be exposed, and the teeth become sensitive. This can happen because of:

Overzealous brushing

If you brush your teeth too hard, it can wear away the enamel, especially where the teeth and gums meet. The exposed layers under the enamel become sensitised.

Loss of tooth enamel

Acidic food and drinks can wear away the tooth enamel which leads to sensitivity.

Receding gums

Gums can naturally shrink back, which exposes the roots of the teeth. The roots are very sensitive as they are not covered by protective enamel.

Gum disease

If plaque builds up and is not dealt with, it can wear away the gums and cause them to become infected. The infection can lead to tooth loss and cavities in the teeth, which weaken their basic structure.

Grinding the teeth

Grinding the teeth in your sleep is quite common, and it can cause the tooth enamel to wear away.

A cracked tooth or filling

A crack in a tooth or a filling exposes the softer layer of the tooth underneath, and it can become more sensitive, especially to cold air, drinks, and foods.

Using tooth whitening formulas

Using professional tooth whitening treatments involves putting a type of bleach on the teeth, which can soften the enamel temporarily, causing sensitivity.

Treatments for sensitivity

Speak to your dentist if you have had sensitivity that has not resolved after 2 weeks. Your dentist will most likely examine your teeth for obvious signs of a problem which could be causing the sensitivity. Your dentist can treat the sensitivity with special fluoride gels, rinses or varnishes which can be applied to the teeth every week or so, to reduce sensitivity. In more severe cases, the tooth can be sealed or filled to cover any exposed layers underneath, where the tooth enamel has worn away.

Are electric toothbrushes better?

An electric toothbrush is better for people who struggle to brush their teeth correctly, because the brush does a lot of the work. Studies have looked at how much plaque is removed when using a manual brush versus an electric one, and most of the time, the electric toothbrush comes out on top. Electric toothbrushes can get children into good habits too. Some models play music for the duration of the time that children should be brushing their teeth.

People with problems like arthritis might find it easier to brush with an electric brush, as the brush takes care of the motion.

The best electric toothbrushes for sensitive teeth and gums

Braun Oral-B Vitality Sensitive Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush

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This toothbrush has a lot of different actions. It rotates a massive 7600 times per minute to get to difficult to reach tooth surfaces and removes more plaque than a manual toothbrush. It also pulsates to break up plaque and sweep it away from the surfaces of the teeth, and the spaces in between. It has a 2 minute timer (this is the amount of time that experts recommend that you should spend brushing your teeth. This brush is an excellent choice for sensitive teeth and gums, as it comes with a softer interchangeable head, specially designed for those who suffer from sensitivity.

Oral-B PRO 6000 CrossAction

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If you like your gadgets, you’ll love this brush! It can be connected via Bluetooth to your smartphone, and can give you information such as how long you spend brushing each area of your mouth, how much pressure you applied, and the cleaning modes you tend to use, then it can produce a graphic result of your day to day brushing stats!

It rotates a huge 8,800 times per minute to get rid of plaque, and you will really feel the difference in how clean your teeth look and feel.

This brush is good for those with sensitive teeth and gums, as it has 5 different cleaning modes- from gentle to standard, massage, thorough cleaning and polishing.

You can adjust the speed too, as a fast rotation is not comfortable for everyone, especially for those with sensitivity. The brush is easy to grip, due to the inclusion of non-slip rubber on the handle, and it has a pressure monitor which warns you when you are brushing too hard. Overzealous brushing can lead to the wearing away of the tooth enamel and sensitivity.

A fully-charged battery will last around 3 weeks, or approximately 42 cleans.

Oral-B Pro 4000 CrossAction

This brush has advanced cleaning technology. It pulsates 40,000 times per minute to break up plaque, and rotates 8800 times per minute to sweep it away. It has a built-in timer which tells you to move to a different area of your mouth every 30 seconds. The timer is automatically set for 2 minutes, the recommended cleaning time for your teeth.

It has 4 different cleaning options. There is a daily standard clean option, a whitening mode, and for those with sensitive teeth and gums, there are softer sensitive and gum care modes.

The battery life is good. A fully-charged battery lasts around 2 weeks or for around 32 cleans.

Oral-B D12.523 Vitality Precision Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush

The brush rotates and pulsates to break up and brush away plaque. It rotates 7600 times per minute and removes about twice as much plaque and debris as a manual toothbrush. It has a 2-minute timer which helps you to brush teeth more thoroughly, and effectively, for the recommended amount of time. You can get a set of replacement heads that come with a different coloured ring around the base, so different people can have their own brush head and share the same handle.

This brush makes effective cleaning easier, and it has separate modes for deep cleaning, whitening, gum massage, and sensitive. This makes it very effective and gentle for those who suffer from sensitivity.

Sterline Sonic Pulse Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush

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This brush is super hygienic. It comes with a UV light sanitiser, which kills 99% of germs on the head of your brush. You just have to insert the brush head into the sanitiser and leave it to work its magic.

The brush has 3 cleaning modes to choose from; normal mode for everyday use, pulse mode for gentle gum massage, and soft mode, which is great for anyone with sensitive teeth and gums.

It comes with 3 different brush heads which give different results, depending on your needs. The slimsonic head buffs teeth whiter naturally by polishing away stains on the surface of the teeth, the professional brush head has extra fine bristles to remove plaque from any uneven surfaces and hard to reach areas, and the interdental brush head cleans braces and fits in between poorly aligned teeth, which can be difficult to clean.

It has 2 built-in timers; one which shuts off the brush after the recommended 2-minute cleaning time, and a 30 second interval timer, which signals to tell you to switch to cleaning a different area of your mouth.

Final thoughts

Good oral health makes you feel good and look good. Research has shown that people with straighter, whiter teeth do better in job interviews, and are viewed as being more attractive and even more trustworthy. There’s no surprise, then, that cosmetic dentistry is now one of the most common cosmetic treatments carried out, as more people pursue that ‘Hollywood smile’.

But it’s not just about how you look. Good oral health reflects that the rest of your body is in good oral health. Poor oral health has been linked with heart disease and other serious conditions.

Good oral health is maintained by brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice per day, flossing regularly, eating a balanced diet and getting regular dental checks.

Your dentist will be able to advise you on maintaining good oral hygiene, as well as checking your mouth for signs of oral cancer, which is much more treatable the earlier it is caught.

A healthy mouth will show in clean teeth, healthy pink gums, and breath that doesn’t smell.

If you have any of these problems, it might mean that you have an underlying health problem or you might need to take more care of your oral hygiene.

Dental problems can be annoying and embarrassing, but the good news is that they are usually easily treatable, often by just following the rules of good oral hygiene.

Bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease can be prevented by taking the simple steps of brushing, flossing, eating well, and visiting the dentist.

Tooth sensitivity can be painful and limits your lifestyle. Imagine being in pain every time you sipped your favourite cup of hot coffee, or took a mouthful of your favourite ice cream. It is caused by brushing your teeth too hard, eating acidic foods and drinking acidic drinks, and not maintaining good hygiene. All of these cause the tooth’s protective enamel to be worn away, which exposes the softer layers of dentine underneath and causes sensitivity.

But the good news is, your dentist can help! They can provide you with a special gel, toothpaste or rinse which is designed to reduce sensitivity. They will usually treat you with these over the course of a few dental appointments.

When you have sensitive teeth, even brushing your teeth can be painful. Most people tend to brush their teeth too hard, believing that the harder they brush, the cleaner their teeth will be. This is simply not true. Using an electric toothbrush is a good way to avoid brushing too hard, and to get away from the problem of bad brushing technique. The brush rotates and pulsates to polish the teeth and get rid of plaque, and it does most of the hard work for you.

It is recommended that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes at a time, and most electric toothbrushes have a timer to tell you when the 2 minutes is up, as well as a pressure sensor to tell you if you’re brushing too hard.

The rotation and pulsation means that electric toothbrushes tend to be more effective than manual brushes. Studies have shown that people using electric toothbrushes were able to remove twice as much oral plaque than those using a manual toothbrush. Electric models are also easier to grip for older people, or people with conditions like arthritis.

If you want to switch to an electric brush, check out our selection of the top models currently on the market. One even sends data to your smartphone, telling you how hard you brushed your teeth and for how long, then produces a graph to track it day to day; so satisfying for your inner geek!

A good electric toothbrush can be expensive, but see it as an investment for your health, which is always money well spent.


Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.