Gum Stimulators – What Are They and When Should You Use Them?

Gum Stimulators – What Are They and When Should You Use Them?
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Gum Stimulators – What Are They and When Should You Use Them?Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. What Are Gum Stimulators
  2. What Do Gum Stimulators Do
  3. How To Use a Gum Stimulator
  4. When To Use a Gum Stimulator
  5. Effectiveness of Gum Stimulators
  6. Are Gum Stimulators Safe to Use at Home
  7. References

Gum stimulators are modern oral care devices designed to upgrade and improve blood flow to the gums. They’re designed to rub against the gumline and on gums, stimulating them.

You can also use them to probe between teeth to help remove food bits, improving dental hygiene and leaving the user with fresh breath.

Although they’re inexpensive and readily available, these useful devices are not a typical dental tool in American households.

What Are Gum Stimulators?

Gum stimulators were invented in the late 20th century as an alternative for the oft-difficult and unpleasant task of flossing. They’re designed to upgrade and improve blood flow to your gums. These devices consist of an angled tool handle and a flexible, pointed rubber cone tip.

These ergonomic instruments are long and thin, similar to a to a toothbrush, with an angled end that has a flexible, pointed rubber cone tip. Users can push the tip against gums to help clear out food debris while also massaging the issue without scraping, cutting or otherwise damaging them.

Some old stimulators are made of metal, while others are constructed of plastic and rubber. One brand, called the Plaque Buster, is made of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs).

Stimulators are affordable and readily available. They cost about $2.50 each, although often they’re sold in packs of two or more and cost between $5 and $10.

While dental professionals recommend these unique mouth probes for people with gum disease, anyone can use them to improve general gum and oral health. In patients with gum disease, a gum stimulator can prevent the condition from worsening or spreading to other parts of the gums and mouth.

What Do Gum Stimulators Do?

A gum stimulator can effectively clean the gaps between your teeth. Additionally, these devices are instrumental to the hygiene of people with missing teeth or wide gaps between the teeth and can improve your oral health in a number of ways. These include:

  • Gently massaging the gum tissue. This helps prevent gum health and prevent common gum diseases from developing or spreading.
  • Cleaning in between your teeth. This helps effectively remove any plaque and food material stuck between your teeth. As a result, you’re shielded from cavity formation and gum disease.

According to research published in Oral & Implantology, increased blood flow to the gums allows more oxygen to penetrate the gums and access infected areas and gum tissue.

How To Use a Gum Stimulator

Gum stimulators are easy to use, and the process is quick enough to incorporate into your daily dental care routine. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to effectively use a gum stimulator.

  • Start by brushing your teeth as you normally would. Dental practitioners advise you to use a medium or soft-bristled toothbrush unless told otherwise.
  • Clean the spaces between your teeth with dental floss or an interdental brush.
  • Place the gum stimulator in hot water for a few seconds to soften up the rubber tip.
  • Using the tip of your gum stimulator, gently massage tissue gum along the gumline.
  • Gently slide the rubber tip between the teeth to remove any plaque or remaining food particles and foreign material.
  • Rinse throughout the gum stimulation process to remove all the plaque. You can use an antiseptic mouth rinse or regular mouthwash.
Something to consider when using gum stimulators is not to apply any excessive force to your teeth or gums to minimize agitating your tissue or impairing your enamel.

When To Use a Gum Stimulator

Gum stimulators are safe to use for most people and reduce the amount of plaque building up in your teeth. For the best results, you can use a gum stimulator whenever you’re brushing your teeth. You may also opt to use the device once a day, which should also yield the desired results.

When you first start using the gum stimulator, it may feel a bit odd. Over time, you’ll get used to it and will barely notice any sensation. However, if you’re experiencing pain or notice blood after using it, you should consult with your dental healthcare specialist before continuing with the device.

While gum stimulators have proven effective, they are a pretty recent innovation, and your dentist can help you figure out if they are the best solution for you.

Effectiveness of Gum Stimulators

As mentioned above, gum stimulators should not replace brushing your teeth or flossing. However, these common dental hygiene practices do not remove all the plaque from your teeth, especially those wedged between the teeth and near the gums.

Gum stimulators are highly efficient as they can get to the plaque and food particles between your teeth. Additionally, since the rubber tip is soft, it can reach further than your ordinary toothbrush. Using gum stimulators is quickly catching on as they are affordable and effective in combating gum disease and improving dental hygiene.

Are Gum Stimulators Safe to Use at Home?

Gum stimulators are relatively new to the market. Because of that, researchers need more time to gather more data to determine the effectiveness of these tools – and more time to gather anecdotal evidence about how people use them and how much they like them.

However, judging from early research results, dental recommendations and early in-person interviews, these devices are safe to use at home.

If you experience challenges using a gum stimulator, it’s best to seek professional guidance as soon as possible.


Link between oral hygiene and overall health. American Dental Association. Date fetched; August 28, 2021.

The Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health and Well-Being. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Date fetched: August 28, 2021.

Effects of the application of high-pressure oxygen on the treatment of periodontal disease in diabetic patients. Oral & Implantology. Date fetched: August 28, 2021.

Effects of physical stimulation (gingival massage) on age-related changes in gingival microcirculation. PLoS One. Date fetched: August 28, 2021.

The history and global market of oral home-care products. Journal of Brazilian Oral Research. Date fetched: September 1, 2021.

Our Story. Plaque Buster. Date fetched: September 1, 2021.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.