Interdental brushes: the facts

TePe_Interdental_Brushes_originalInterdental brushes do exactly what it says on the tin: they’re designed to work between the teeth to remove food debris and plaque that ordinary toothbrushes can’t get to.

Here at CK Dental in Bristol, we tend to think of them as a more precise (and reusable) upgrade of dental floss, and one that can significantly improve gum health. We offer the following advice;

Check the wire

There are cheaper versions on the market, but we recommend brushes with plastic-coated wire, particularly if you have implants. An uncoated brush could scratch the implant and give bacteria somewhere to hide.

One size doesn’t fit all

Just like each tooth is unique, so are the gaps between them. Your first experiences with interdental brushes will take time, as you need to work out which brushes provide the perfect fit for each individual gap.

Don’t push too hard

The ideal brush size is one that provides a snug fit in each gap. If you experience resistance or discomfort when using an interdental brush, stop immediately and try approaching the gap from another angle – and if that’s not working, step down and try a smaller brush that fits.

Mind the gap

Over time, you may find that the brush you’re using in a certain gap doesn’t provide a snug fit any more. No need to panic: this is most likely a good thing. In most cases, it means that the inflammation of the gum is receding. Swap in a brush that fits and carry on.

It’s a supplement, not a replacement

In other words, you’ll still have to use an ordinary toothbrush as part of your daily oral hygiene regime. Also, using interdental brushes should be a daily routine – once or twice a week isn’t good enough.