Types of Interdental Cleaning

Brushing alone only cleans three of the five surfaces of your teeth, so it is important that you also clean between your teeth every day. As a guide, the two main types of interdental cleaning are floss and interdental brushes. interdental brushes are described below, if you want to learn about flossing click the button below.

Interdental Brushes

Interdental Brushes are placed at the gum line and pushed horizontally in a forwards and backwards motion. These push any plaque and debris out of the space whilst cleaning the sides of the teeth.

These can be more effective than using floss on its own especially between back teeth and where there are larger spaces in your mouth. In these spaces, the food tends to trap and floss simply does not remove the deposits.

Sometimes floss makes the condition worse, pushing the food debris into the gum in big spaces. Interdental brushes push out this debris more effectively.

Interdental brushes come in a variety of sizes.

When do I need to use them?

If you have larger gaps between the teeth or suffer from periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend the use of interdental brushes rather than floss. They are also useful where the gums are inflamed and bleed easily. If so, make it a daily routine to brush between your teeth with an interdental brush to keep your teeth healthy and to prevent gum disease. Use your interdental brush once a day. Move the brush back and forth a few times in each interdental space. Change the brush when it is getting worn.

There are several different manufacturers of these brushes. Choose ones on short handles rather than long handles such as the "TePe" brushes shown. They are available from most supermarkets and chemists.

The interdental brushes are available in several colour coded sizes, all with plastic coated wire. The ergonomic handle enables cleaning with steady and controlled movements. For optimal cleaning, it is important to choose an interdental brush of the right size, you need a brush that is snug but not too tight. Very often more than one brush size is needed.

How they are used

  • Select a suitable sized interdental brush.
  • Never force the brush between the teeth.
  • Between front teeth, use a finer brush, turning slightly to ease the brush comfortably between the teeth.  Remove the brush by gently pulling thereby removing plaque and debris.
  • Repeat the turning motion to re-insert and pull out several times until you are satisfied the space is clean. 
  • For larger spaces nearer the back of the mouth, a larger headed brush might be needed.
  • To be as effective as possible, shape the head into a slight curve. DO NOT bend at right angles. You will then be able to easily locate and clean the space effectively.
  • Always rinse brush in clean water during and after use.

TIP!  For added effectiveness why not dip the brush in Corsodyl Mouthwash (put some in the bottle cap) or better still Corsodyl gel (Ask the Pharmacist). This will allow the Corsodyl to be brushed between the teeth targeting the hard to get at bacteria.  For sensitive teeth dip in some sensitive toothpaste to brush between the teeth.

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