High standards of oral hygiene are important throughout your life. However, when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, particularly with fixed braces, the challenge is greater due to the risks of food being trapped around the brace as well as the brace itself being an obstacle to mechanical brushing.
As an evidence based orthodontic practice, we always advise our clients with fixed braces to use an electric toothbrush with an orthodontic head. This advice is based on research conducted in Germany in 2013 and published in the American Journal of Orthodontics. A randomised controlled trial was carried out to assess the efficacy of toothbrush treatments on plaque removal in orthodontic patients. This was carried out on 45 adolescent and young adult patients wearing fixed orthodontic appliances. The trial compared three toothbrushes; an Oral B oscillating-rotating electric toothbrush with an orthodontic head, the same electric toothbrush with a standard head on it and a regular manual toothbrush.
All the patients were wearing fixed braces and over the age of 12. They were asked not to use other toothbrushes, mouthwashes or floss during the trial. At each examination point the patients rinsed with a fluorescent solution that adheres to plaque. A high resolution camera with an ultraviolet flash was used to take a picture of the patients’ teeth. The researchers then used software to analyse the pictures and document how much plaque was present before and after brushing.
The results of the trial showed that both the electric toothbrushes removed more plaque than the manual toothbrush. However the electric toothbrush with the orthodontic head removed significantly more plaque than the electric toothbrush with a standard head on it. Compared with the regular Oral-B brush head, the orthodontic brush head is smaller and has a better adaptation of the brush head for the specific surfaces of teeth with braces.
So if you want to maintain the highest standard of oral hygiene while wearing fixed braces the evidence is clear. The research clearly demonstrates that the Oral B oscillation-rotating electric toothbrush with a specially designed orthodontic brush head is superior and the most effective method of removing plaque for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment.