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Getting braces is a big step and one that will mean quite a few changes for you. There are a few rules to go over, from what foods to eat to maintaining your oral hygiene properly. You’re probably dreaming of what your teeth will look like once the braces are off and hoping you don’t have obvious decalcification. With all of these things to ponder, the last thing you need to worry about is whether you’re brushing with the right brush and toothpaste for braces. Should you use a manual toothbrush with braces or an electric toothbrush with braces? Is there a preferred type of toothpaste with braces? 

At Fergus Orthodontics, we often get questions such as “can I use a normal toothbrush with braces?” or “is an electric toothbrush better for braces?” They’re very good questions, and we’re happy to answer them!

Manual Toothbrush or Electric Toothbrush with Braces?

One of the biggest questions we get is about the type of toothbrush to use with braces. Is a manual toothbrush good with braces? Or is it better to use an electric toothbrush with braces? Honestly?…EITHER. A brushed tooth is always better than an unbrushed tooth. You should pick a toothbrush that you will use! Either type of toothbrush will work, as long as you use a soft-bristled brush. 

However, electric toothbrushes do have some advantages for patients with braces. Studies from the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics show that an electric toothbrush outperforms a manual toothbrush when it comes to brushing with braces. Food can become trapped around brackets and archwires in braces. Electric toothbrushes tend to be more powerful and can reach around brackets and wires better, so they do better at clearing away those particles. But at the end of the day, the best toothbrush is the toothbrush you will use!

Why Is An Electric Toothbrush Better?

Studies have shown that people brush longer with an electric toothbrush than with a manual toothbrush, with or without braces. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a time for the best results. Some toothbrushes include timers that make sure you hit the two-minute mark. Others offer features such as intensity adjustments, so you can better control how you brush your teeth. 

Electric toothbrushes are better for those who have involuntary muscle contractions or arthritis in their hands. These can make it difficult to brush with a manual toothbrush. But because an electric toothbrush does most of the work for you, it’s much easier to have excellent oral hygiene!

Manual Toothbrush With Braces?

While electric toothbrushes are recommended with braces, that doesn’t mean you can’t use a manual toothbrush. Some people simply prefer to use a manual toothbrush, or they may only have a manual toothbrush when they travel. It’s OK to use a manual toothbrush with braces, as long as you use it for two minutes each time and try to get around every bracket. 

You might try setting a timer on your cellphone or a kitchen timer to ensure you brush for the full two minutes. For something more entertaining, pick a song that’s two minutes long and brush until it ends!

Tips for Brushing With Braces

Dr. Fergus has a few tips to improve how you brush with braces: 

  • Floss first to loosen and remove particles from between teeth so they can be brushed away, rather than left on the tooth to become plaque. Use floss threaders or a Waterpik to get around wires
  • Brush at a 45-degree angle using a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Brush gently, moving in tiny, circular motions across all surfaces of the teeth and around the brackets and wires to remove trapped particles
  • Brush three times a day during orthodontic treatment, preferably after each meal or after school if you can’t brush after lunch
  • Replace your manual toothbrush or your electric toothbrush head every three months because damaged or dulled bristles are less effective
  • Check that all your brackets and wires are clean and shiny. If they still look dull, it might be a hint you need to step up your brushing because there still may be plaque there. 
  • Use fluoride toothpaste, and consider rinsing with fluoride or antibacterial mouthwash. Try not to eat or drink anything for at least half an hour to ensure the fluoride has time to take effect.
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What’s the Best Toothpaste With Braces?

You’ve got your favorite toothbrush, so now comes the big question: What do you put on it? Well, the obvious answer is “toothpaste,” but is there a toothpaste that is best for braces? You would think there would be an easy answer, but there are so many options nowadays you might get confused about which toothpaste is best with or without braces. Should you choose “cavity protection?” (Don’t they ALL have cavity protection?) What about tooth whitening? Tartar control? Gum health?

OK, so maybe it isn’t as easy to choose a toothpaste. Luckily, Dr. Fergus is familiar with all these options and can offer a few suggestions!

The one thing you want in toothpaste for braces is fluoride. This keeps the minerals in your enamel and reduces your chances of tooth decay. The good news is this is an easy choice to make since most toothpaste nowadays has fluoride. So that means it comes down to the other options.

Here’s something you may not know: most kinds of toothpaste nowadays are essentially the same. Anti-cavity? That means it has fluoride or might have a bit more fluoride. Whitening? It has more abrasive, so it “scrubs” the stains away better. But that can also make your teeth more sensitive. 

Bottom line, ignore all the marketing stuff and the special “features” and just choose your favorite. Whether you prefer the blue gel stuff or the plain white stuff, you’ll be good to go — as long as you use it three times a day for two minutes each time. You can use that toothpaste with an electric toothbrush or a manual one. 

Best Toothbrush and Toothpaste With Braces

In the end, the best toothbrush with braces is an electric toothbrush, and the best toothpaste for braces is simply one that has fluoride. That gives you a lot of options on the toothbrush and toothpaste aisle! Pick your favorites and go from there! Consider grabbing a fluoride mouthwash, as well. 

If you have any other questions, Fergus Orthodontics is here to help. If you’re in the Jonesboro, AR, area, give us a call or schedule a virtual or in-person consultation. We’ll be happy to talk to you about our exceptional orthodontic treatment and the best ways to keep your teeth and your braces clean!