Can you use an Electric Toothbrush with Braces

Can you use electric toothbrush with braces? This is one of the common questions you will have after getting your braces. When you get braces installed dentist will send you home with a toothbrush that has little spool at the end. This is a nice gesture and it helps get the bits under your wires clean, but is it really necessary when you have your fancy electric toothbrush at home?

In this article, we will discuss that kind of concerns and by the end, you will see that an electric toothbrush is perfectly fine to use and even preferred when it comes to cleaning pesky plaque and other things on your teeth and braces.

Are my Braces gonna fall out with an Electric Toothbrush?

man brushing teeth with electric toothbrushSimply put, no. It is one of the major concerns when it comes to teeth cleaning while you are wearing braces. But, luckily for us, it’s just an unfounded fear and very difficult to achieve.

Generally, braces (each bracket of it) are cemented to each tooth with the power of very strong dental cement, and then immediately shut down to bring your teeth in an optimal state.

When you leave dental office braces are already set to your teeth so strong that you will need special dental equipment to set them loose and take them out. You could use your toothpaste and your preferred choice of toothbrush the same night you got braces.

Also, the wired portion of braces is attached to the bracket with rubber loops. They are very tough and not likely to pop off during regular tooth brushing. Even if you somehow manage to do that, the dentist can put you a new one in less then a minute.

If you frequently are having this problem that means that you should try using less pressure and change to the softest bristle on your favorite electric toothbrush. Pressing too hard and using bristles that are too stiff are gonna damage your enamel anyway, with or without braces, so you should be very careful with that.

Is an Electric Toothbrush Better than a Manual Brush when it comes to Braces?

best electric toothbrushes for bracesPeople in life have their preferences. Whether it’s movies, TV shows or music you can prefer various stuff that may or may not be condoned by other people and that is fine. It’s the same with dental hygiene, your choice is your choice. However, we here believe in science.

And science (according to the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics) says that an electric toothbrush has better results in oral hygiene of those with dental braces then manual brushing. There are numerous reasons for this.

An electric toothbrush is easier to manage then manual brush, and have settings like timers and brushing intensity that offers far better control. They are ideal for all types of braces from metal, ceramic to lingual ones. They are easier to manage for those who don’t brush long enough or incorrectly, or for those with limited dexterity as, for example, arthritic patients.

Electric toothbrush performs better than manual brush at removing stains and plaque. And plaque is the thing you want to avoid while wearing braces because it’s hard to clean. If you want the best electric toothbrush for braces to look for one with a small head and soft bristles. Apply soft pressure and trust us, it will work as intended.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that a manual brush will not be good enough, but for some people, this kind of brush could lead to poor brushing. So why not use something that would guarantee good cleaning and is best what science has to offer?

So it’s not a question “Can you use an electric toothbrush with braces?“

Instead, you should be asking “Why wouldn’t you use it?“.

How to select the Best Electric Toothbrushes for Braces?

smile with bracesMaintaining your oral health is important especially if you have braces. Everything involving teeth is much more complicated when you have braces, so you should try to keep them healthy. An electric toothbrush is a great tool to maintain your oral health while you have braces. But there are several things you should know about selecting it and using it.

Talk to your dentist or orthodontist– Electric toothbrushes come in various forms and have a variety of features, so it could be difficult to decide which one is best for you. That is why it’s best to talk to your dentist or orthodontist to recommend the best electric toothbrush you and even your kids. Especially if you or your kids have a specific situation like braces.

Decide which type of electric toothbrush you need– They come in two types: battery-powered and rechargeable. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Battery-powered use AA batteries are cheaper and you can even replace bristles on some of them. But you need to still use manual motions to clean your teeth. 

Rechargeables are a little more expensive but on a plus side you don’t have to worry about batteries and they offer more high-tech options like timers or pressure sensors. Also, most of them have replaceable bristles if you need softer ones for braces.

Different features are good to explore– Both options offer lots of different features that help in your oral hygiene. For example, some have timers that help you hit that 2-minute mark in brushing by counting it for you or even count 30 seconds so you could cover all 4 quadrants equally.

Others have pressure sensors that let you know if you are brushing too hard and those are helpful if you have braces because you don’t want to damage enamel or teeth. Others offer travel cases for travel purposes, or even multiple brush head compatibilities so you could replace just brush head and not entire brush or even switch between multiple brushes in case you need that.

Some more expensive ones can even offer you multiple brush settings. That includes rotary (where brush head rotates only in one direction), counter-rotational (brush rotates in various directions), rotating-oscillating (different lengths of bristles rotating in opposite directions), oscillating-pulsating ( you have pulsating motions in addition to oscillatory motions for better cleaning).

How to use an electric toothbrush with braces?

braces drawing1) Wash your mouth with water before brushing– When you use braces, there is always a possibility that food will be stuck between your teeth. You will want to loosen that before brushing. Sip water in your mouth and swish it for about 30 seconds. This will dislodge large chunks of food if they are stuck between braces.

2) Before brushing run your brush underwater for a few seconds– It helps to get rid of any debris or microbes if they somehow got on your electric toothbrush since the last time you used it. 

3) Apply a toothpaste with fluoride to your brush– fluoride-based toothpaste helps when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy. If you are unsure which one, it’s best to consult your dentist or orthodontist. You should always go for that 9/10 one.Dentists recommending toothpaste

4) Every quadrant of your mouth needs to be brushed for 30 seconds– Your mouth is broken into 4 quadrants: upper left, upper right, lower left and lower right. The division is from your first central tooth to last molar. Each of the quadrants needs 30 seconds of care when it comes to brushing your teeth.

5) Hold your toothbrush in proper position– you should hold your toothbrush against the gumline, above your braces, on your top row of teeth. The toothbrush should be at a 45-degree angle to the gum line.

6) Brush your teeth outer surfaces– You should also brush outer surfaces of your teeth and braces. All around the brace of each tooth and then directly onto brace so nothing gets stuck there.

7) Clean the inner surface of teeth– Inner surface is back parts of your teeth facing toward your mouth and throat. This is way easier with an electric toothbrush because you can just place it on the surface and brush will do all the work.

8) Biting surfaces are also important– Bottom or top edges of your teeth that bite food is also important to clean. Use circular rotating motions to clean them properly. Make sure you reach back teeth as well.

9) Brush between braces– You also have to clean the area between braces. Insert bristles between your braces from the top and make few brush strokes. Then do the same from the bottom. Repeat it until you cover all your teeth, Also, be warned here, you may not be able to use electric features during this step because bristles could get stuck in or damage braces.

10) Avoid heavy pressure to your braces– If you brush with heavy pressure you can damage your braces or even your teeth. The beauty of electric toothbrush is that you should just place it on your teeth, the brush will do the rest. Also, some of them have pressure sensors that will alert you if you press too hard.

11) Brush your tongue– You need to ensure your whole mouth is clean so taking care of your tongue is also important because you could have leftover bacteria that could damage your mouth and teeth. Just position your toothbrush on your tongue and scrub the surface with it with front and backward motion.

12) Floss your teeth and braces– Trapped food can be a pain to deal with. So it is recommended to floss gently between your braces so you clean them properly. Don’t pull to hard when flossing so you don’t damage them. Also, if you think flossing is difficult or you get lazy, water pick will get you similar results.

13) After you are done rinse your mouth with water– once you are done it’s important to rinse your mouth with water. Just swish it around teeth and spit it back.

14) Repeat it twice a day– to keep your teeth healthy it’s recommended that you do it twice a day. With braces, you may need to brush it additional time especially if you eat something sticky.

You can use an electric toothbrush with braces…

braces after cleaning with electric toothbrushAs we said, worrying about if you are able to use an electric toothbrush with braces is perfectly normal. You indeed need to be careful with heavy pressure while cleaning your teeth, as well as with some mods of your electric toothbrush in different phases of cleaning.

       However, your braces are very firmly on your teeth so you shouldn’t have any reservation in using a brush to clean teeth, including using an electric toothbrush. Moreover, it is scientifically proven, that it’s far better to do it with an electric toothbrush than with manual one.

       So you have nothing to fear about. Especially if you own better electric toothbrushes that have various mods like timers and pressure sensors that will enhance your oral hygiene to another level.

2 replies
  1. Jana
    Jana says:

    Thank you for this great post! I only wish I had known this when I got braces. I really thought that they would fall off and did circus-like acrobatics with the manual toothbrush until my arm ached…

    I’m sure you can help a lot of people with this post. Not only with braces: I have never heard of the 2 min rule, like passing 30 seconds in every quadrant. I never thought of brushing my tongue. I never cleaned my mouth with water before brushing.

    This is very useful advice! Keep it coming.

    • Hans
      Hans says:

      Great to know that you learned something Jana! Brushing your tongue is extremely important in maintaining good oral hygiene too.

      I can totally relate to the type of brushing with a manual brush when you have braces… Feels like a surgeon…


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *