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Have receding gums? Using these soft-bristled toothbrushes can help stop symptoms from getting worse.

Sure, it isn’t the sexiest topic, but receding gums are incredibly common. In fact, about three quarters of adults have receding gums, according to the CDA—and the result can be gums that are swollen, pus-filled, bright red or purplish, or tender.

There are many different reasons why your gums might be receding, says Gary Glassman, DDS, a Toronto-based dentist and endodontist. "Some of the most common causes include aggressively over-brushing or over-flossing, genes, poor oral health, aging, dietary choices, and tobacco use, among others," he tells Health.

According to Dr. Glassman, the best way to tell if you have receding gums is to run your finger over your teeth and see if you feel a notch where your gum line used to be. Another potential sign: teeth that start to feel more sensitive to liquids and hot or cold foods.

It’s a good idea to book an appointment with your dentist ASAP if you think you might have receding gums, but there are steps you can take to prevent further recession at home, too. For starters, stick to a healthy diet, avoid tobacco products, and remove any piercings that might rub against gums and teeth. Even more important: "Flossing, brushing, and rinsing daily can ensure you have a great daily oral care routine," says Dr. Glassman. "So make it a habit to never skip any of these steps and you will improve your oral health significantly."

When it comes to choosing the best brush for receding gums, electric is usually best, says Dr. Glassman. The reason? "Most users of manual toothbrushes brush harder and more aggressively," explains Dr. Glassman. "This can actually trigger gum recession instead of help it, as more gaps get formed between the teeth and gum lines." Below, six toothbrushes Dr. Glassman recommends for people with receding gums.

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