We often get asked which is better to brush your teeth with braces – electric or manual toothbrushes? While either option can produce a job well done, the quality of the job actually lies with the brusher themselves. In other words, it depends on how well the brusher brushes their teeth in the first place.
The problem is that a lot of people do not brush their teeth properly, and the problems can be worsened when a person has braces. So it might not matter what kind of toothbrush a person is using if they are not brushing correctly in the first place.
Here’s what people need to know when it comes to brushing their teeth (especially with braces).
Manual vs. Electric Toothbrush For Braces
People are often surprised to learn that they are brushing their teeth incorrectly, or at least ineffectively. One common problem is the angle at which a person holds their brush. Lots of people tend to push the bristles flat against their teeth, when instead the brush should be slightly angled up (or down) in order to clean the gum line where plaque builds up.
Another technique issue is that people press too hard, which can cause gums to recede and enamel to wear down. Instead, it’s important to “let the brush do the work” by using gentler pressure and spending more time, allowing the bristles some space to move back and forth to get the job done. In addition, it is important to use a “soft” tooth brush. Hard bristles can cause gum recession and permanently damage the gum tissue.
When a person has braces, the braces require an even more nuanced technique because there are more nooks and crannies for plaque to build. The area around each bracket and beneath the wires requires attention.
Electric toothbrushes can help with a person’s technique because of the moving bristles and multiple motions that the brush can do at once. This removes some of the potential for human error and can make for a more effective brushing session.
The recommended length of time that people should be brushing their teeth is at least 2 minutes. Unfortunately, that target is missed by many. There are tricks one can do to meet the time target, like getting a small hourglass or setting a timer.
The benefit of using an electric toothbrush is that many people find the sensation more enjoyable and therefore are more likely to brush for a whole two minutes. Also, many electric toothbrushes have built-in timers.
While it’s simple to focus on the teeth in the front and sides of the mouth, it’s also easy to forget about the inside surface of the teeth, the gumline (where plaque loves to grow), and the teeth in the back of the mouth. Especially with manual brushes, people have a tendency to neglect the harder to reach teeth. Whichever toothbrush one chooses, getting to the more challenging areas of the mouth is essential to good oral health.
Advancements in technology tend to make life easier for people. Smartphones help people navigate the world, computers connect people, and cars are safer and more reliable to drive. So, it goes with electric toothbrushes, too. These modern toothbrushes make brushing better, especially with braces.
If you are interested in braces or to purchase an electric toothbrush for braces, visit South Surrey Smiles or call us today! 604-542-5420.
Dr. Lesley Williams is a Certified Specialist in Orthodontics. She grew up in Victoria, BC with her parents and two sisters.
After being awarded her Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree in 1989, Dr. Williams then spent six years as a dentist in general practice before deciding that she wanted to further her education by undertaking three extra years of highly specialized training in orthodontics. With her Masters in Science (Orthodontics) degree under her belt, she went on to sit the Orthodontic Specialty Fellowship exams through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. To date, her status as an active leader in the orthodontic profession means that she holds the following qualifications and positions:
- Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
- Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics
- Examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and the American Board of Orthodontics.
- Former president of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (representing 2900 orthodontists from the 4 western Canadian provinces and 8 western American states).
- Active member of the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists.