The technique of brushing your teeth is not the same while wearing braces on your teeth. Though you get a user manual with an electric toothbrush, you may wonder, “How to use an electric toothbrush with braces?”
You need to brush your teeth and braces 2-3 times a day with an electric toothbrush. But, the brushing technique is a little bit different for an electric toothbrush while wearing braces. Cleaning the brackets and braces wires is equally important as cleaning teeth and gums with the toothbrush.
But, an electric toothbrush can make the work much easier and remove plaque and food debris more effectively if you learn simple steps.
In this article, you will get a beginner guide with steps to use electric toothbrushes with braces. Let’s begin.
Step by step guide to using an electric toothbrush with braces
Here is the beginner’s guide to using an electric toothbrush while wearing braces on teeth.
Step 1: Getting an electric toothbrush
Learn about the types and features.
First of all, you have to decide which electric toothbrush is the best for your teeth and braces. There are so many brands and varieties available in the market. But, you have to know if it’s safe for your braces.
- You can get a battery-powered or rechargeable toothbrush. They have advantages and disadvantages on their own.
- If you get a battery-powered toothbrush, you have to run it with a battery. That means you have to replace the battery from time to time.
- On the other hand, if you get a rechargeable battery, you have to charge the device before you use it.
- The price of a battery-powered electric toothbrush is cheaper than a rechargeable toothbrush.
- If you are new to worrying about its use, you can get a battery-powered variety. When you are ok with it, go for the rechargeable one.
- Know about the features, pros, and cons of various toothbrushes before you buy them. Compare it with a manual toothbrush where the electric toothbrush is better than that.
However, don’t think too much while you get it. You can use the electric toothbrush not only with braces but also without it.
Besides, you don’t need to replace the whole device like a manual toothbrush. You only have to replace the brush head after 3-4 months. So, try to buy a product that lasts longer.
Finalize a suitable toothbrush and grab it.
You can check the list of top electric toothbrushes for braces that are available now before you get one.
Then, finalize your decision. You can get it at a local market or online. You should talk to your orthodontist about whether he allows you to use a specific product while wearing braces.
In most cases, he will allow you to use an electric toothbrush.
Step 2: Preparation before you start brushing.
Get the toothpaste for braces and electric toothbrushes.
Just like a manual toothbrush, you need toothpaste to brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush.
Use fluoridated toothpaste for brushing your teeth with braces to prevent staining and tooth decay. Always try to use the toothpaste that has got the ADA seal.
Some may want to use whitening toothpaste with braces. But, don’t do that or you will end up having an uneven spot on teeth after the removal of braces.
Know which toothpaste is the best for braces wearers.
Unpack the electric toothbrush and read the manual.
Now, it’s time to unpack the toothbrush. You should read the manual guide, as different brands have different kinds of features. But, the basic features are the same.
Charge the device.
If you have a device that requires charging to function, charge it before using it. It has a charging indicator and gives you a signal after the device is fully charged.
However, if you have a battery-powered variety, place the battery inside the device.
Set up the bruising timer.
Brushing should take at least 2 minutes in which you have to spend 30 seconds in each quadrant. Take a look at your electric toothbrush.
It should have a brushing timer. Set the time and turn it on. Some devices provide an auto timer. You don’t need to turn it on.
This timer will alert you after 2 minutes. With a manual toothbrush, you can’t maintain this exact time.
But, this feature is going to help you. Some devices also give you a single every 30 seconds. You have to switch a quadrant after that signal.
Set up the electric toothbrush and perform a trial.
Don’t start using the electric toothbrush as soon as you start it. Turn on the device to check if it’s working properly.
Remove removable attachments of braces.
You get different removable attachments like rubber bands during braces treatment. Remove that before starting brushing.
Floss your teeth and rinse your mouth.
You must floss your teeth at least once a day, especially with braces on your teeth. But, you should do it before brushing your teeth.
Flossing is necessary because you have to remove food debris and plaque from in between teeth and under the braces wire. You may not be able to do it with a toothbrush.
You can use a conventional or a Waterpik flosser with braces. Be careful when you floss your teeth with braces as you may damage the brackets and wires.
Learn proper methods of using them with braces before brushing your teeth.
If it’s not your flossing schedule now, rinse your mouth for 30 seconds before you start brushing. This loosens the plaque and food debris and makes them soft.
Step 3: Cleaning teeth and braces with an electric toothbrush
Soak the bristle in water.
Before you start brushing your teeth and braces, hold the brush head under the water for a few seconds and soak it well.
After that, turn the toothbrush on and let the water run over the brush head for a few seconds more.
The brush head will spin under the water during this time. If the toothbrush has any dirt or germs on it, this will remove them.
Apply toothpaste to the brush head.
Now, apply an adequate amount of fluoride toothpaste to the brush head.
Divide your mouth into sections.
Divide your mouth into four sections while brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush. That will actually help you maintain the time.
One section will be from the midline between the front two teeth to the last molar teeth. These are – the upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left quadrants.
It’s recommended that you spend at least 30 seconds at each quadrant while brushing your teeth with the electric toothbrush.
Again, divide each section into four more parts. These are:
- The outer surface of your teeth including braces
- The inner surface of your teeth
- The biting surfaces of your teeth and behind your back teeth
- The tongue and the roof of your mouth
You have to clean each part individually given enough time.
Turn the device on and start brushing.
Now, turn the unit on to start brushing your teeth. Read the next two steps carefully. You have to do these things while brushing.
Place the toothbrush in the right position gently.
When you use an electric toothbrush, you don’t need to apply too much pressure or scrub the area that you want to clean manually. Doing so can damage the braces.
Place the brush head in the right place and right direction with a little pressure. The toothbrush will do the work on its own.
If you are using an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor, it will give you a signal when you put excess pressure.
This is an advantage of using the electric toothbrush with braces. But, how to place the brush head?
Hold the electric toothbrush gently at a 45° angle to the gum line just above the braces for an upper tooth or below the braces for a lower tooth.
Do it exactly the same way you do with your regular toothbrush.
The size of the brush head is also very important. Usually, the size of the brush head allows one to brush one tooth at a time. This makes it more effective.
Timing is also very important. Spend enough time on each tooth to clean it thoroughly. Take at least 4 to 5 seconds for a tooth.
Brush all sections and parts of the teeth that we mentioned about one by one using this direction.
Direct the toothbrush to all parts of the teeth and braces.
You have to brush each quadrant of your mouth that we have divided earlier. Here are the steps you need to follow while brushing different parts of your teeth and braces.
1. Brushing the outer surface of your mouth and braces
A. Start from the outer surface of the upper right teeth. Guide the brush head gently from back to front and brush all the way around the outer surface of all teeth of the upper right quadrate.
B. Continue this to the upper left quadrant and end in the left-back teeth.
C. Place the brush head with a little pressure and maintain it at a 45° angle to the gum line.
D. Clean the braces and under the wires. While brushing the outer surface of a specific tooth, hold the brush head gently over the bracket and let the brush clean up around it.
Then, place the brush head in between the braces to remove debris from under the wires and in between teeth.
Move the brush slowly from top to bottom to remove the food debris and plaque nicely. Make sure braces are completely cleaned.
Do the same with all the brackets. If bristles get stuck between braces due to a certain feature of your device, turn off the brush immediately and try different features that are suitable for braces.
E. Don’t press the brush too hard on the teeth, gums, and braces. If you hear an alert for applying too much pressure. Withdraw the brush and apply a little pressure.
Applying too much pressure can break the braces or loosen the wires. Only place the brush head to the proper position and it will do the rest of the work.
F. Give 4-5 seconds to clean every tooth.
G. Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth. Switch to the next quadrate after this time or after getting the signal.
So, when you complete brushing your teeth, it will take 2 minutes to complete the brushing which is recommended by every dentist.
H. Clean the lower two quadrates. Do the same thing with your lower teeth. Start from the lower back teeth of the right side and end in the left-back teeth. Don’t skip brushing the gum line.
2. Brushing the inner surface of your teeth
Perform the same technique for the inner surface of teeth. This is the surface that many people don’t clean thoroughly.
But, plaque and tartar get accumulated more on that surface, especially the inner side of the lower front teeth.
So, take your time to remove all the plaque and food particles nicely from these surfaces. But, the good news is electric toothbrushes make the work easy for you to clean the inner surface of your teeth.
3. Brushing the chewing surface of your mouth
Next, hold the brush head over the biting surface of your teeth and slowly guide it from back to front. Allow the brush head to rotate over the chewing surface of the tooth.
Don’t forget to clean behind the back teeth. This is the area where food debris gets trapped and it’s hard to remove. In that area, move the brush from left to right.
4. Brushing your tongue and roof of your mouth
Finally, touch the brush head over your tongue and the roof of your mouth and move it slowly from back to front to clean them.
Scrub the upper surface of the tongue gently. This will clean the bacteria and freshen your breath as well.
Step 4 – Finishing brushing
Spit out the toothpaste.
After you end up brushing all the surfaces of your teeth, spit out the toothpaste.
Turn off the device.
After you are done cleaning your teeth, gums, and braces, turn off the toothbrush properly. You will hear an alert at the end of 2 minutes of brushing.
Clean the brush head with running water.
Hold the toothbrush under the running water and clean the bristle nicely. After that make it dry. Bacteria will grow on uncleaned or wet bristles.
Rinse your mouth.
Rinse your mouth with water to clean the remaining debris and toothpaste from your mouth.
But, don’t rinse too hard or it will wash out the fluoride completely that you applied to your teeth with toothpaste.
However, after brushing your teeth, you can rinse your mouth with chlorhexidine mouthwash sometimes. This helps reduce gum disease and plaque formation more and improves oral health.
Keep the electric toothbrush with proper care.
Don’t let the brush head get dirty and keep the device in a safe place.
Continue brushing schedule.
Repeat the same steps as we have discussed here and brush your teeth 2-3 times a day.
Don’t skip brushing your teeth while wearing braces or you may develop tooth sensitivity, staining, decay, or gum diseases.
In addition, you must floss your teeth at least once a day and rinse your mouth after each meal to get the best result and improve oral health.
Taking care of the Electric Toothbrush
Here are some useful tips to take care of your electric toothbrush.
- When you’re done brushing, wash the bristle thoroughly. Run the brush head under the water for a while. After that, make it dry. If you don’t do that, the germ will build up in the bristle.
- Replace the brush head every 2-3 months. One brush head starts to wear and tear after a while and becomes less effective. It also becomes dirty and germ gets deposited within the bristle over time.
- If you use a battery-powered toothbrush, replace batteries as soon as possible when it’s dead. You shouldn’t leave the battery inside the device if they run out.
- Dead batteries release acidic liquid which may damage the device. Most importantly it may be harmful to your health if it comes in contact with the bristle.
- If you take a break from using the electric toothbrush, remove the batteries from the device. You can get a rechargeable electric toothbrush, as many users say that it lasts longer.
Tips for brushing with an electric toothbrush
Many people do make some mistakes while brushing teeth with braces on teeth. So, here are some tips for you.
- Take enough time to brush your teeth. The device may have a timer, but you are the one who has to place the brush head in the right place. Yes, you don’t have to do everything manually. But, this part is up to you. So, if you don’t distribute the time evenly for each tooth and it’s every surface including braces, nothing is going to help you. It may take more than 2 minutes for the first few days. But, spend at least 4-5 seconds on each tooth.
- Brush all the surfaces of the teeth properly and thoroughly. Some people have a tendency to brush their upper teeth giving them more importance. Not only do you have to give importance to upper teeth, but you also have to give importance to bottom teeth, sometimes even more.
- Give special care to your inner side of the lower front teeth and behind the back teeth. These are the areas where food particles, plaques, and tartar get deposited more than anywhere in the teeth. So, take time and remove all particles nicely.
- Don’t rush and hit the braces. If you try to brush your teeth in a hurry, you will increase the risk of damaging the braces and wires. So, be careful.
- Don’t apply excess pressure while using an electric toothbrush with braces on your teeth. This will damage the brackets and wires. So, you may end up having loose or popped-out wire and brackets may fall out.
- Always use fluoride-containing toothpaste while brushing. Fluoride makes your teeth strong, prevents tooth decay, and enhances dental health.
- Floss before brushing your teeth at least once a day. Brushing can do that all work alone. You need to remove some sticky and small plaque and food debris with flossing. Braces make it more important to use floss every day.
- Sometimes, rinse your mouth with mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine after brushing your teeth to improve gum health.
Using an electric toothbrush with braces for kids
If you are planning to get an electric toothbrush for your kids with braces, you need a different version of the device. You can get it online.
- The method of using the electric toothbrush is the same for kids with braces on their teeth. But, parents must observe the children during brushing.
- Before using the device make sure they remove all removable parts of the braces. Teach them how to use the electric toothbrush.
- Children should learn to place the brush at a 45-degree angle from the gum line with gentle pressure.
- They should take 2 minutes to move the toothbrush over all the teeth to clean the outer, inner, and biting surface of the teeth.
- Kids should be careful while brushing the braces and wires. Warn them not to hit the braces with the toothbrush.
- They must clean behind the back teeth, the inner surface of lower front teeth, and under the wires more thoroughly and carefully as plaques and food debris get deposited there more.
Use the electric toothbrush regularly following the proper method while wearing braces to prevent gum diseases and tooth decay. Besides, be careful and apply the methods appropriately to prevent any damage to the braces.