You can use a regular soft toothbrush when you have braces, but most orthodontists recommend an orthodontic-cut toothbrush, where the bristles in the middle are lower than the bristles on the edges and cut into a “v” shape. This is often called a “v-trim” toothbrush. They are difficult to find in stores, but your orthodontist will usually have some to give you. DentaKit carries a particularly good v-trim manual toothbrush and several soft toothbrushes which are good for sensitive gums. You can also use any electric toothbrush, such as a Sonicare or Oral-B Braun. These do an especially good job of cleaning your teeth.
To floss your teeth, you don’t necessarily need special floss. You can use any type of floss with a plastic threader needle such as BridgeAid or those made by DenTek . The plastic threader helps you bring the floss under the arch wire for each bracket.
To make things easier, there are also several types of “threader floss” which is a length of floss that has a built-in stiff threader end. Some popular brands of threader floss are ProxySoft (formerly Thornton 3-in-1 Floss), SuperFloss and Oral-B Glide Threader Floss. An enterprising orthodontic patient even invented a tool he calls “FlossFish” to help you floss under your brackets with any type of regular dental floss. Many of these flossing tools, and others such as GumChucks OrthoGami and Plackers OrthoPik Flossers can be found at DentaKit.com or many online drugstores.
You might also want to get a small spiral dental brush (sometimes called an “interproximal brush” or a “proxi-brush”) or a rubber-tipped stimulator to help clean food debris out from between the brackets before you brush. There are many types of these on the market, including those made by DenTek (in a variety of widths), and ones with longer handles, such as those made by Tepe. DentaKit.com also carries a good variety of these interproximal brushes.
A WaterPik water flosser or a device like Oral Breeze’s QuickBreeze (which attaches to your sink faucet) or ShowerBreeze (which attaches in your shower) are also helpful. On the go, you might find a portable battery-powered WaterPik helpful. In fact, they even make a mini travel version of the WaterPik for travel called the Sidekick. It plugs into the wall socket and hold more water than the battery-operated model, so it’s ideal for long trips. My husband, who has periodontal problems, uses the Sidekick when he travels and he likes it a lot.