We each have our own preferences in life such as whether we like television shows better than movies, fast food better than fine dining, and manual toothbrushes better than electric ones. It’s just all a matter of personal preference. If you enjoy using an electric toothbrush, then there is no reason not to use one for brushing teeth with braces.
In fact, studies by the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics have shown that an electric toothbrush promotes better oral hygiene for those with dental braces. There are numerous reasons an electric toothbrush outperforms a manual toothbrush before, during, and after orthodontic treatment.
Electric toothbrushes are easier to manage and some have settings such as timers and brushing intensity for better control. They are ideal for all types of braces from metal, ceramic, and lingual braces. Electric toothbrushes can be easier to manage for those who don’t brush long enough or brush incorrectly, and can be easier to manage for those who have limited dexterity, or for arthritic patients with braces. An electric toothbrush performs better at removing stains and plaque so your teeth feel less “fuzzy” and filmy. Plaque is the one thing you want to try and avoid while wearing braces.
The key to successfully brushing teeth with braces using an electric toothbrush is to look for one with a small head, and soft bristles. It is best to apply gentle pressure and to allow the toothbrush to do the work for which it was intended. Take care around bands, brackets, and wires and remember to brush below and above the armature of the braces to ensure healthier gums.
This is not to say a manual toothbrush will not suffice, but this type toothbrush could possibly lead to poor brushing in some people. Studies have also shown that people tend to brush for shorter periods of time when using a manual brush. According to Dr. Nima Hajibaik at Newpark Orthodontics in Alpharetta, Georgia, you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes at a time, twice a day. He says to “learn to love your toothbrush.” This is especially true if you prefer using a manual toothbrush.
When it all comes down to it, the best toothbrush for braces would be an electric toothbrush. If you find it difficult to reach the backs and interproximal areas of your teeth, you can also purchase interdental brushes that help to reach hard to get to areas and all those nooks and crannies that either an electric or manual toothbrush may miss. Your orthodontist is always your best resource for up-to-date information on the best methods of brushing teeth with braces.
Whether your preference lies in manual or electric toothbrushes always look for one with the ADA Seal (American Dental Association). When you purchase a toothbrush with the ADA seal, you are purchasing a toothbrush that has been studied and tested for safety and effectiveness and is guaranteed to perform as promised. Also, remember to replace manual toothbrushes or electric toothbrush heads more often while you are undergoing orthodontic braces treatment. The braces can be a little tougher on the bristles, so it’s a good idea to replace them more often such as every two months to ensure the best possible performance.