This in vitro study assessed the cleaning efficacy of different electric toothbrushes around upper incisor brackets. Standard and Mini Diamond™ brackets were fixed on black-stained teeth. The teeth were coated with white titanium oxide and brushed in a machine twice for 1 minute each. Twelve different brush heads with either a wiping or an oscillating-rotating action were tested. After brushing, the teeth were scanned, the black surfaces were assessed planimetrically and a modified plaque index for orthodontic patients (PIOP) was introduced. Tooth areas, which were black again after brushing indicated tooth surface contact of the filaments and were expressed as a percentage of total area. The remaining white areas around the brackets indicated 'plaque-retentive' niches. Analysis of variance was used for individual comparison of the brush types. Bonferroni/Dunn adjustment was applied for multiple testing. The Sonicare® toothbrush handle with the brush head 'Compact ProResults' (81.7 per cent) and the brush head 'Standard ProResults' (80.8 per cent), as well as the sonic Waterpik® toothbrush SR 800E with the standard brush head (78.2 per cent), showed statistically significantly better cleaning efficacy than all others. The poorest cleaning efficacy was observed for the oscillating-rotating Braun Oral-B Professional Care with the brush head 'Ortho' (less than 50 per cent). The planimetric findings were in correspondence with the results of the PIOP assessment. Cleaning efficacy of electric toothbrushes around brackets on upper incisors was different between the tested brushes. The PIOP was practicable, effective, and easy to use, although it has to be verified in a clinical study.