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The best toothbrush for braces, electric & manual

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Gemma Wheeler

(GDC Number: 259369)

Best electric toothbrush for braces

Brace wearers can really benefit from an electric toothbrush because they make plaque removal easier. This has significant benefits for the gums, which are often irritated when teeth are moved.

The wires and brackets can be tricky to clean around. The electric toothbrush does the hard work for you, making it easier to clean around the key parts of the brace.

“Patients are more likely to clean their teeth for longer because of built-in timers” says our in-house dentist Dr. Gemma Wheeler.

And whilst electric is a good choice for braces, we’ve also included some manual toothbrush recommendations. Dr. Wheeler explains the evidence and provides further advice in our buyer’s guide.

Our recommendations

Best electric: Oral-B Pro 3 3500 (Amazon, Oral-B)

Top of the range electric: Sonicare Prestige 9900 (Amazon, Ebay)

Best budget electric: Oral-B Vitality (Boots, Amazon)

Good travel option: SURI (SURI)

Eco-friendly manual: Colgate Link (Boots, Amazon)

Cheap manual: Oral-B Pro Expert All-In-One (Amazon, Boots)

Best electric

Oral-B Pro 3 3500

£58 From Oral-B*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why it’s the best for braces: 

The Pro 3 3500 strikes the balance between features and cost. It has the essential features dentists recommend: a timer, a pacer and a pressure sensor.

The timer and pacer help to make sure you brush the entire mouth for the correct amount of time, which is particularly important with braces because of additional plaque buildup. These features are useful for teenagers who may still be in the process of perfecting their brushing technique.

The small round brush head is easy to move around the mouth and get in and around the metal brackets and wires. Oral-B also makes a special Ortho brush head, which we cover in more detail below.

If you brush too hard the visible pressure sensor lights up red to warn you. It’s important not to brush braces or your teeth too hard, doing so can be damaging, so this is a feature worth paying for.

The 3500 includes 3 cleaning modes: daily clean, sensitive and whitening mode. Having a sensitive mode is useful in case you are experiencing any soreness from your braces. The travel case protects the brush and is big enough to pop in a couple of interdental brushes too.

Read our Oral-B Pro 3 3500 Review.

What we like

  • The handle is easy to wipe clean
  • Included travel case protects the brush & makes transporting it easier
  • Affordable – paying for what you need & not unnecessary extras

What we dislike

  • No icons on the handle to show which of the 2 cleaning modes is selected
Oral-B Pro 3 3000 & 3 3500

Top of the range, good for travel

Sonicare 9900 Prestige

~£245 From Ebay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why it’s good for braces: 

Like the Pro 3 3500, the Prestige has the features we recommend for brace wearers: a timer, pacer, pressure sensor and a travel case. 

But it’s far more expensive, because of its smart toothbrush technology.

The 9900 will tell you when you need to replace a brush head and can monitor how well you are brushing. This means you can make improvements, in real time.

Unless you’re someone that’s going to make use of this technology day in and day out, we recommend you opt for the cheaper brush. 

As a brace wearer, you need to brush more often, for example after lunch. The stylish and compact travel case included with the Prestige allows you to easily transport it.

The rechargeable battery lasts 4 weeks on a single charge, but the brush can be charged inside the travel case, using a USB-C cable. This is the type of cable used to charge many smartphones. So if you leave the house in a rush, you could put your brush in its case, pack a charging cable and find somewhere to charge it if you have let the battery run down. 

Read our Sonicare Prestige 9900 Review.

What we like

  • Premium materials & design
  • Compact charging travel case included
  • Lots of smart tech – reminds you when to replace the brush head as well as tracking & monitoring your brushing

What we dislike

  • Expensive – you’re paying for non-essential features like Bluetooth
Prestige 9900 under running water

Best budget electric

Oral-B Vitality

~£19.99 on Boots*

*Prices correct at time of writing

A cheap, but reliable choice:

Even though this is a cheap brush, it’s still reliable and a good choice if you’re on a tight budget. Parents, if you are looking for a brush for your teenager that they can afford to lose, then this is it. Not that we encourage losing toothbrushes, but it easily happens.

Use it correctly and you can expect to remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush. However, you don’t get quite the same satisfying deep clean as you do with more expensive models, like our recommendations above. 

The small round brush head is very good at cupping each tooth and is easily manoeuvred to different parts of the mouth. Like the Pro 3 3500, the Vitality is compatible with the Oral-B Ortho brush head, which is useful for getting into very tight spaces.

Unfortunately, it does lack a pressure sensor, which means that there are no alerts when you brush too hard. If you’re buying for someone that would benefit from this feature, it’s worth stretching your budget to the Pro 3 3500 if you can.

Read our Oral-B Vitality Review.

What we like

  • Easy to use single cleaning mode
  • The grip on the handle helps to securely hold the brush
  • The timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time

What we dislike

  • No pressure sensor
  • No battery status feedback

Another good option for travel


The best toothbrush for braces, electric & manual 1

£84 From SURI*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why it’s worth considering:

SURI is another toothbrush that comes with a sturdy case that can be used to easily charge the brush on the go.

Like the Prestige, SURI can be charged using a USB-C cable, rather than the proprietary cable that is required for other brushes.

Another plus point for SURI is that it’s the most environmentally-considerate electric toothbrush that we’ve tested to date. You can read more about that in our SURI review.

Like our budget choice above, the downside to SURI is that it doesn’t come with a pressure sensor, which we do regard as a useful feature for braces.

Read our SURI Toothbrush Review.

What we like

  • Sturdy travel case with USB-C charging
  • Better eco credentials than other brushes

What we dislike

  • No pressure sensor to alert you if brushing too hard
The best toothbrush for braces, electric & manual 2

Best manual toothbrush for braces

Despite the benefits and evidence (1,2,3,4) to suggest electric might be better, a manual toothbrush is perfectly adequate for cleaning your braces, when used correctly. There are times when a manual toothbrush might also be more convenient. They are generally slimmer and lighter, which is great for travel. And because they don’t rely on a battery you won’t run out of power.

A concern with all toothbrushes is the environmental impact. Standard plastic toothbrushes are not ideal. Preferably they would be made from recycled plastic and have replaceable heads but few actually exist at this time. We therefore offer two recommendations. A plastic manual brush and a more sustainable metal handled brush with replaceable heads.

There is very limited evidence to recommend one manual toothbrush for braces over another, although it seems crisscross bristles are slightly better according to a study by Naik et al. If neither of the below are a good fit, there are more recommendations in our best manual toothbrush post.

Eco-friendly choice

Colgate Link

£10 From Boots*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The Colgate Link is expensive for a manual toothbrush.  But, this shows in the design and quality of the brush.  It is one of the best looking manual toothbrushes we have ever used.

The aluminium handle is designed to be long lasting and it feels it. The chain link style design to the handle reduces the overall weight so it does not feel heavy in hand.

The heads push on and pull off of the handle.  Replacing the head of the brush every 3 months reduces plastic use by 80% compared to a regular manual brush.

What we like

  • Quality construction
  • Replaceable brush heads
  • Available in a range of colours

What we dislike

  • Expensive for a manual toothbrush

Cheap manual toothbrush option

Oral-B Pro-Expert All-In-One

£2.67 From Boots*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

With soft CrissCross bristles, the Pro-Expert All-In-One gives a really great clean around your braces.

Each bristle tip is rounded for a more gentle brush across the tooth surfaces. ‘Gum stimulators’ on the edge of the head helps promote good gum health whilst longer bristles at the tip of the head reach deeper between the teeth and around brackets and wires.

The handle is grippy and feels comfortable in the hand thanks to the curved shape and appropriately placed rubber grips.

You can flip the brush head over and drag it along the tongue, because there is a tongue cleaner on the back of the head too.

What we like

  • Soft CrissCross bristles
  • Comfortable rubber grips on the handle

What we dislike

  • Not the most environmentally friendly option for a manual toothbrush

Buyer’s guide: useful pre-purchase advice

With the help of dentist Dr. Gemma Wheeler, we’ve added some advice that is specific to anyone shopping for a toothbrush for braces. If you can’t find the information you need please leave a comment below.

These electric toothbrush features are useful for braces

A good electric toothbrush for braces doesn’t need lots of features. The most important are:

  • 2 minute timer
  • Quadpacer
  • Pressure sensor
  • Travel case

One of the cheapest brushes you can buy that has all these features is the Pro 3 3500, which is why we recommend it as the best overall choice. Technically, the Pro 600 offers these, but the pressure sensor is not visible and the cleaning power from the motor is weaker.

In some of the sections below, we’ve included a few more examples of brushes that have these features. You can also use our electric toothbrush reviews page to filter by specific features if you would like to see more options.

2 minute timer

There is agreement among dental organisations and medical bodies that brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes is important. Having a 2 minute timer built into the toothbrush helps encourage you to achieve this. The majority of electric toothbrushes come with this feature as standard, including our best budget pick above.

People with fixed braces should actually aim to brush for 3 minutes. Only brushing for 2 minutes doesn’t leave enough time to cover the additional surface area created by having braces.

Some brushes automatically power off once the 2 minutes are up, so it is a case of turning the brush back on to brush for a bit longer. Oral-B models don’t automatically turn off, whilst some ‘smart’ models, like the Oclean X Pro Elite allow you to set custom modes where you control the total brushing.


A quadpacer is designed to encourage you to cover the mouth evenly during the 2 minute brushing cycle. Most pacers work by pausing the brush motor at 30 second intervals. The pause in the sound and motion of the toothbrush is your cue to move from 1 section of the mouth to another.

The 4 sections (quadrants) are: upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left. If you spend 30 seconds cleaning each, you will achieve 120 seconds/2 minutes total brushing time.

Most electric brushes come with a quadpacer these days, including our budget recommendation the Oral-B Vitality.

In a few instances, the pacer is configured differently. Rather than 4 sections, there are 6, known as sextants. The total brushing time is the same, but you spend 20 seconds brushing per sextant. The Prestige is configured this way.

Pressure sensor

A pressure sensor helps to guard against brushing too hard, which can damage the teeth and gums. It’s also not a good idea to brush braces harder than is necessary. The implementation of a pressure sensor varies from one brush to another.

In many instances when pressure is detected, the motor will slow down. This limits the bristle movement and potential damage. A visible pressure sensor will illuminate to act as a visual alert. This is common in Oral-B brushes. Usually, a red light is emitted around the neck of the toothbrush.

Some models, notably Sonicare, will vibrate the brush handle to alert you. Whilst models like the Prestige and the DiamondClean Smart vibrate and illuminate a visible sensor.

The Oral-B iO Series are the first brushes to actually light up green, to show you are using the correct pressure. These brushes typically have higher ownership costs as a result of the selling price and cost of replacement brush heads.

Oral-B’s Pro 600 is supposed to have a pressure sensor, but we don’t rate it highly. There is no visual alert and it’s nigh on impossible to detect the change in sound from the loud motor.

Travel case

When you are wearing a brace for 12+ months, you will find yourself brushing in different locations. It won’t always be possible to brush your teeth at home. A travel case enables you to take your toothbrush with you and keeps it protected.

The cheapest brush you can buy that includes a travel case is the Oral-B Pro 1 680 or Pro 1 750.

There are certain models that come with travel cases that allow charging whilst in the case. They do not need to be placed on a separate charging stand. Examples of these include the Oral-B iO, SURI and the Sonicare Prestige 9900.

Oral-B’s charging travel cases are functional but less desirable. This is because they require a separate proprietary power adapter. The iO Series 9 and Genius X are 2 examples. The best travel cases use internationally accepted connectors like microUSB and USB type c.

Compact travel cases help reduce bulk and weight when on the go. However, one benefit of bulkier travel cases like those supplied with the Pro 1 680, 1 750, 3 3500 is that they have a little space inside that you can use to store accessories such as interdental brushes.

You don’t need a special toothbrush for removable braces like Invisalign

All of our recommendations above are perfectly suitable for removable braces like Invisalign. Removable braces can be taken out of the mouth and you should brush your teeth after each meal and before putting the aligners back in. Because they are removable, cleaning the teeth and the brace itself is much easier. You are not restricted by wires, so brushes can pass easily over the teeth. Floss and interdental brushes can easily glide between the teeth.

Many Invisalign patients have attachments (also known as ‘buttons’) fitted to their teeth. These are made of white filling material and help move the teeth. They are not prone to collecting food debris or plaque like conventional brackets are. In fact, you brush just like you would if you had no braces at all. Do remember that you will need to brush and clean the brace itself, following the guidance you have been given.

Oral-B makes an Ortho brush head, but you can get by without it

Oral-B has created a set of heads specifically for fixed braces called the Ortho Care. It is available here on Amazon.

The idea is to give you a couple of extra ways to clean around braces, and more precise targeting of the brackets. They are not essential. The normal round heads are fine (excluding FlossAction). It’s only really worth considering if you’re not getting the best plaque and debris removal with a standard set of bristles.

The Ortho Care brush heads are not compatible with Oral-B iO Series handles. They do work with our budget pick above, the Oral-B Vitality, and the Oral-B Pro 3 3500.

Sonicare does not make an equivalent to the Ortho Care brush heads. All their heads (excluding TongueCare+) are suitable for braces.

Brush head shape and size is worth considering, but not critical

The range of brush heads available across various brands is unnecessarily complicated. Unless you have a particularly small mouth, you don’t need to pay too much attention to the type that you choose.

Oral-B has two ranges of brush heads — those that fit the iO Series toothbrushes, and those that fit all of its other brushes. The iO compatible brush heads are a little bigger than other Oral-B heads. They are also more expensive.

Sonicare brush heads, and most heads found on ‘sonic’ toothbrushes, are more oval shaped and larger than Oral-B’s round heads.

If you have a very small mouth or find it difficult to manoeuvre a toothbrush fully around your teeth, it might be best to consider any Oral-B brush that isn’t an iO Series model. Our main recommendation here is the Oral-B Pro 3 3500.

Almost all Oral-B, Colgate and Sonicare brush heads can be used with braces. Just avoid the Oral-B FlossAction head and the Sonicare tongue brush.

Why brushing and flossing is so important for brace wearers

Thorough cleaning is especially important for people undergoing orthodontic treatment. Fixed braces rely on fixed brackets on the tooth surfaces and wires between them to move the teeth. Not only do you need to clean the tooth surfaces and between the teeth, you also need to clean in and around the brackets and wires of the brace.

There is agreement that having braces slightly increases your risk of things like gum disease, tooth decay and halitosis. These conditions are caused by bacteria found in plaque. The brackets stuck to your teeth increase the surface area for plaque to stick to. The brackets, elastics and wires also trap food debris.

More plaque means that you are at higher risk of decay. The early stages of decay can be reversed. This means you don’t need fillings. But you could be left with white marks on your teeth when the braces are removed. Good cleaning can prevent this.

By brushing regularly you also reduce the chances of staining on your teeth. Even when you do not wear a brace, some 35-40% of the tooth surface is missed with regular brushing. Interdental cleaning is advised. It reaches in tight gaps between teeth, cleaning areas normal brushing doesn’t reach. Failing to remove the bacteria at the gum level, especially in between the teeth, contributes to gum disease.

Unfortunately cleaning between the teeth is not the easiest when you have braces. If the technique is not good enough, the bacteria are not cleaned away, it can lead to irritation of the gums. Left for long enough, this reversible gingivitis can progress to more severe gum disease – periodontitis. The best approach is to use interdental brushes, but water flossers are a much easier product to use.


Is it safe to use an electric toothbrush with braces?

Yes, electric toothbrushes from the leading brands are safe to use with braces.

They will not cause your brackets to detach from the tooth. 

The bond between the bracket and the tooth is more than strong enough to withstand an electric toothbrush. The wires and elastics also will not be damaged by an electric toothbrush.

Whether you have fixed metal, incognito, ceramic, clear, invisible, lingual or self-ligating braces, a powered toothbrush can be used with any of these. Electric toothbrushes are also safe to use if you have removable braces, such as Invisalign.

Do dentists recommend an electric toothbrush for braces?

Whilst not everyone needs an electric toothbrush, brace wearers can really benefit from them.

Electric toothbrushes make good plaque removal easier for you to achieve at home. This has significant benefits for the gums, which are often irritated when having teeth moved around with braces.

The wires and brackets can be tricky to clean around. The electric toothbrush can help make brushing around these much easier, by doing the hard work for you. 

I have found that patients are more likely to clean their teeth for longer because the timers built into the brushes encourage this.

And because they are proven to remove more plaque they help keep the gums and teeth healthy.

About Jon Love

Jon is a leading voice on electric toothbrushes and has been quoted by mainstream media publications for his opinions and expertise. Having handled & tested hundreds of products there really is very little he does not know about them. Passionate about business and helping others, Jon has been involved in various online enterprises since the early 2000s. After spending 12 years in consumer technology, it was in 2014 that he focused his attention on dental health, having experienced first-hand the challenge of choosing a new toothbrush.

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15 thoughts on “The best toothbrush for braces, electric & manual”

  1. Hi, I have a fixed retainer at the back of my top teeth. Is it safe to use either Sonicare DiamondClean Smart or Oral-B electric toothbrushes on this area (on the actual wire)? Thanks in advance.

  2. Hi
    I have had braces in for 5 months and use oral b electric toothbrush with orthodontic head (I feel the orthodontic head doesn’t have enough bristles to clean effectively but the ratings on amazon don’t reflect this!)
    I also use the most powerful cordless water flosser, and still finding it hard to keep my teeth as clean as I would like them to be, they look discourored around the base of each tooth.
    My question to you is.. which gives a more superior clean around the braces, Sonicare diamond clean vs oral b’s orthodontic head?
    Would love a comparison of these 2 in particular.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Abi,

      I do not have nor know of any clinical studies that really compare these brush heads in a way that can provide meaningful results and explanation as to which is better.

      Everyone can have an opinion, but you want the hard facts, which sadly we are not in a position to offer.

      Both Sonicare and Oral-B do a lot of research and these products would not really exist and be as popular as they are if they did not work.

      You might not feel that the brush is cleaning as well as you would like, but it probably is doing a very good job.

      I am presuming you have fixed braces based on what you say and I am also presuming you have regular checkups with your orthodontist.

      Normally they would tell you if you are not cleaning well enough, but at your next visit, do ask as they can make an assessment there and then and tell you if you are indeed brushing to the standards needing to maintain good oral health. I suspect you are.

      As for the tooth looking discoloured, this is most likely down to the light and the way it reflects on the tooth, rather than actual discoloration. Do consider that if wearing metal braces, the top of the tooth is in the shadow of the brace and the dark metals will adjust the way light shines and potentially make it look darker.

      • Hi
        I wasn’t looking for any clinal trial evidence as you have mentioned in your just an ordinary guy with a dog 🙂
        Just wanted your view on the comparison of these two as it seems like you have provided a lot of good advice on Your article and I was looking to purchase a different brush.
        Thank for the reply tho.

        • Hi Abi.

          Ahh apologies if I misunderstood what you wanted.🤔

          I don’t wear braces. I did previously (prior to founding the site) so can’t give current and accurate first hand opinion.

          I have no reason to believe that the additional bristles or shape of the Sonicare head will be better for you, so I can’t really suggest changing brushes would be worthwhile.

          Oral-B actually comes out top in the clinical tests for normal teeth brushing.

  3. Hi,
    I just had my braces fitted today (Damon) and I never used an electric toothbrush before.
    I find some toothbrushes a bit expensive and I’m not sure what to do or buy.
    Should I continue with manual or buy electric?
    Even the manual flossing looks like hard work and I’m thinking to buy the air flosser.
    Any advice for me?


    • Adina, thanks for the comment.

      The decision is personal, you don’t need to spend a fortune on an electric toothbrush, but you could continue to use a manual brush. I think you will find electric easier.

      As a more cost effective option that what is mentioned in the article, you could look at the Oral-B Pro 2000 and then purchase the Oral-B Ortho brush heads to go with it. This will set you back around £30-£40. Which is a lot less than some options.

      An air flosser is a great option when you have braces, but I would also consider using inter-dental brushes too. It is essential to make sure you are doing all you can to clean your teeth properly when wearing braces to avoid any issue later.

      • Hi,
        Thanks for your reply.
        I’ve just bought the Phillips Sonicare Airfloss Pro. I fitted my braces last weekend and it hurts when I floss. After having a good read on your website I decided to go for Phillips. Looks easier to use and doesn’t require much space and is kind of cordless.
        Once I get used to having braces I’ll go for what you have reccomended.


        • Great Adina.

          Once you have used the Airfloss Pro, please do let me know what you think of it. Always great to have other peoples feedback.

          • Hi,

            The Phillips AirFloss Pro is really pro. Easy to use, the baterry lasts forever and now after having the top braces on is even harder to brush and the flosser gives me a better clean feel and my ortho said it’s a good investment.

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