For patients who have braces, their choice of toothbrush is important in making sure they’re able to clean their teeth as effectively as possible during treatment. It can be challenging to ensure that tooth surfaces and gums that are near brackets or under archwires are thoroughly cleaned, but when food particles are left behind, plaque can build up. Over time, tooth decay and gum disease can be the result. Fortunately, damage can be avoided with proper attention to dental hygiene and a toothbrush chosen with your braces in mind.
Important Features in a Toothbrush for Braces
What should you look for in a toothbrush when you have braces? Whether you opt for a manual toothbrush or an electric one (more on this later!), certain general design features will make it easier to get a thorough clean around your braces.
Soft, flexible bristles: To remove plaque without damaging your braces, gums, or teeth, soft bristles are best. For electric toothbrushes, look for ones that have rotating bristles, as those tend to produce better results than those that only vibrate.
Smaller brush head: A small, rounded brush head is easier to maneuver around brackets and archwires, as well as being better suited for younger patients and adults with smaller mouths. Electric toothbrushes are often designed with smaller brush heads, but if you’re looking for a manual brush you may need to take a bit of extra care in selection. Many of the common ones sold in chain stores or given out by dentists tend to have larger heads.
Sleek, easy-to-hold handle: A handle that is scaled to your hand and easy to grip will make it easier to brush spots that are harder to reach. Some toothbrushes, such as the Colgate Keep, have ergonomic handles designed to make it easier to angle into hard-to-reach spots.
Manual or Electric Toothbrush?
Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush to clean your braces is ultimately up to you—it is certainly possible to clean your teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush if you have braces, but it will require more work and careful attention to detail. However, many studies show that electric toothbrushes are more effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis, which can be an advantage if you’d like a little extra insurance that you’re getting your teeth as clean as you can. They may also be a good idea for children or adolescents, who may not be as adept at brushing every nook and cranny completely.
In using an electric toothbrush, you will need to take care that you use it according to instructions, and that you don’t exert too much pressure as you brush. Bristles could potentially get tangled in the archwire if you press too hard. Using a model with a pressure sensor can help ensure that you’re not using too much force on your teeth and gums.
Of course, an electric toothbrush costs more than a manual one, but patients tend to consider this a worthwhile investment, as they get better results with less effort. If cost is a consideration, each B Orthodontics patient can choose a Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4700 electric toothbrush, complete with brush heads designed for braces, as their free gift at the start of treatment. Whether a manual or electric toothbrush will be best for you is a matter of personal preference. The best toothbrush is the one that you will use consistently and effectively.
How Often Should I Brush When I Have Braces?
It’s always advisable to brush your teeth right before bed, to remove any food particles that might still be in your teeth, and first thing in the morning, when levels of plaque-causing bacteria are at their highest. However, that’s the minimum toothbrushing everybody should be doing. When you have braces, you should ideally be brushing after every time you eat as well, to keep food particles from building up around your brackets and archwires. While it is most convenient to use your favorite manual or electric toothbrush at home, you should make a habit of taking a travel-sized manual toothbrush with you when you’re on the go—we provide these for patients as well! Regular brushing will keep your teeth and gums healthier so that when you finally have your braces removed, your smile is as beautiful as possible.
Creating Healthy, Gorgeous Smiles
At B Orthodontics, we want all our patients to not only achieve the bright, even smile and healthy bite they deserve, but to also keep their teeth and gums healthy throughout their treatment and beyond. We work with every patient to create an individualized treatment plan, with options that suit their preferences and treatment goals. To find out more about how B Orthodontics can help give you the smile you’ve dreamed of, contact us here to schedule your free initial consultation.
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