Electric vs Manual Toothbrush, Which Is Better For Braces?

Electric vs Manual Toothbrush, Which Is Better For Braces?

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  • Post last modified:18 March 2022
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We should all know that good oral hygiene comes down to how often and how well you brush your teeth. Best results depend on your technique, the type of toothpaste you use, how often you brush your teeth & of course, the type of toothbrush you’re using. In this article we’ll compare electric vs manual troothbrush options to see which is best when you’re wearing braces.

Figuring out your ideal routine takes a bit of experimentation, but people that have braces can often find that brushing is a little trickier than it first seems.

This is because braces are an extra 3 dimensional surface on the tooth with lots of extra little crevices that food can easily be trapped in and around, making it quite  challenging to even clean your teeth and braces in the first place.

Using a manual toothbrush with braces

Manual brushing generally requires that you use a 45-degree angle towards the gum line to ensure that your teeth are getting a thorough clean. People always forget to brush their tooth gum area as well; this needs attention too.

You should use small circular motions to ensure you’re getting the entire tooth and brace cleaned and to remove the bacteria and piece of food from both between your teeth and under your braces.

This can be a little tricky to get right the first time but generally gets easier as you practice. The most important part it to take your time so you do not miss any spots.

However, if you neglect your technique for too long then you might find that it’s hard to clean your teeth effectively, which then causes plaque build-up and decay.

In addition, you’ll need to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months depending on the quality of the brush and also how soon it starts to show wear and tear.

Flossing is also required to ensure healthy gums. Bacteria microbiome can form in between your teeth when you do not floss.

This bacteria can eat away the bone and tooth mass in your mouth, leaving gaps in your gum.

Eventually if regular flossing is not kept up, it can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.

So it’s very important you remove all of the bits of food from between your teeth and that you remove the bacteria accumulating in hard-to-brush areas with flossing.

It’s also recommended to use mouthwash to help ensure that bacteria in your general mouth is reduced.

Brushing with a manual brush is fairly straightforward and doesn’t require you to purchase an electric tooth brush as long as your technique is thorough.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that you do need to practice your technique in order to get the best results with cleaning.

If you don’t, you’ll find you’re not effectively brushing and some of the bacteria and food in your teeth will continue to linger.

In general, manual brushing take a bit more effort to clean your teeth properly and may even take a little longer as well.

Manual toothbrushes at a glance

  • Can help brushes feel they have more control over the brushing process
  • Allow brushers to respond to twinges and reduce the pressure applied to sensitive teeth and gums
  • Are more convenient for packing when traveling
  • Are cheaper and easier to replace than the electric tooth brushes

Using an electric toothbrush with braces

Electric toothbrushes are able to make up for many of the disadvantages of manual brushing but at a slightly higher cost.

There are very few differences between manual brushes and even higher-end ones don’t cost that much.

Let’s look at electric tooth brushes

Investing in a good-quality electric toothbrush can set you back more than purchasing a manual tooth brush, and replacement heads can cost more than a single manual tooth brush. However, the difference in price does come with some significant advantages.

Firstly, electric toothbrushes provide a far deeper clean than what you can achieve with a manual toothbrush.

This is because their rotating or vibrating motion can dislodge dirt and bacteria at a much faster rate than manual brushing and due to their smaller size, can fit into the small nooks and crannies around your braces, gum line and in between your teeth.

This means that you don’t need particularly good technique to take advantage of electric brushing as most of the work is done for you.

Simply aim the toothbrush at the desired area and it will be cleaned much faster and more efficiently than what you could achieve with a manual brush.

Electric toothbrushes also come with a wealth of additional features that make them more accessible.

“You’ll need to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months”

For example timers, a great tool when teaching children how long to brush their teeth. Also, a sensor in the electric tooth brush will tell you if you are pressing too hard against the teeth. This will prevent accidentally dislodging a brace or bracket.

Most electric toothbrushes have a 2-minute timer that lets you know when you’ve brushed for the optimal amount of time.

Manual brushing can be hard to keep track of and you might not know if you’re brushing too much or too little, resulting in poor results.

Electric toothbrushes at a glance

  • Provide power rotation that helps loosen plaque
  • Are great for people with limited dexterity due to arthritis or other physical limitations
  • Are popular with kids who think the electric brushes are more fun to use
  • Can come with variable speeds to help reduce pressure on sensitive teeth and gums
  • Uses timers to ensure you brush evenly across the four quadrants of your mouth and for the optimal two minutes each session


At Wilkinson Orthodontics, we like to say the best brush is the one you’ll use.

The reality is that both manual brushing and electric toothbrushes have advantages.

Manual brushes are more economical but harder to use if you want a deep clean.

Electric toothbrushes, on the other hand, have a higher initial investment but can clean your teeth more efficiently and creates less room for error.

They’re also very effective at cleaning your teeth even if you have braces and we can definitely recommend them if you’re willing to invest in a good-quality electric toothbrush.

However, if you’re fine putting in the time mastering your brushing technique, then a manual brush can work just as well.