Most of our patients understand the need to brush twice daily to maintain good oral health, but what some miss is the chance to remove the food debris and plaque that builds up on the surfaces a toothbrush can’t reach. Cleaning between your teeth is vital to keeping your teeth and gums healthy as around 35% of the surface of your teeth can’t be reached by tooth brushing alone. To remove the debris from between your teeth, you’ll need to use dental floss, floss picks or interdental brushes.
Let’s now look at the different options, how to use them and which would suit you best:
Brushing between your teeth with an interdental brush helps to prevent cavities and gum inflammation. Interdental brushes can also be used to clean teeth appliances such as braces.
Which size? - There are lots of different sizes of interdental brush, so ask your dentist about which would be best for you. If you’re not sure, why not try the Tepe Interdental mix pack which contains a variety of brushes so you can find the right ones for you. Work the brush into the gap slowly and if it won’t fit, try a smaller brush.
Which shape?- use a straight interdental brush to brush in between the front teeth and an angled interdental brush to get between the back teeth.
When to use? - you should use interdental brushes twice a day, after brushing. Stand in front of a mirror so you can see what you are doing and move the brush backwards and forwards gently a few times in between each tooth. Never force the brush into a gap and remember to change the brushes regularly, as you would your toothbrush, or when the filaments become worn.
Dental floss or tape is a thread usually made from nylon that can be used to clean between the teeth.
Floss or tape? - floss is rounded like rope and tape is wider and flatter. If you have larger gaps between your teeth you’ll probably find dental tape is more effective, but if your teeth are tightly packed together, dental floss will probably fit in the gaps easier. Waxed floss is less prone to breakage but because of the wax coating it can sometimes be harder to get into a tight gap. Try our Oral B Super-Floss if you have braces or bridges to clean in between or have wide gaps between your teeth.
How to use - slide the floss or tape between the teeth and push down to the gum and below as far as you can comfortably go. Move up and down the sides of the tooth and repeat for each tooth.
When to use? - use dental floss or tape twice a day when cleaning your teeth to help remove debris from between the teeth and keep gums healthy.
Dental floss picks are pre-threaded with a piece of dental floss. Many people prefer them as they find the handle easier to guide than a piece of thread. Visit our shop to make Glide Floss Picks part of your dental care routine:
How to use - hold the handle and squeeze to change the tension to easily slide the floss between the teeth. Follow the same cleaning technique as you would with dental floss or tape.
It’s worth remembering that when it comes to cleaning between your teeth, there isn’t one better approach, it all depends on the size of the gaps between your teeth, whether you have crowns, implants or wear braces and of course, what technique and interdental cleaning equipment feels the most comfortable to you.
If you haven’t cleaned between your teeth before, or your interdental routine has lapsed a little, it’s normal to experience tender gums and bleeding after cleaning, but if you persevere this will lessen as your gums become healthier.
For more guidance on cleaning between your teeth, please ask at your next appointment. To book or get in touch please click here.