If you spend any time browsing the oral care aisle at your local pharmacy or grocery store, you will notice a wide variety of accessories or tools in addition to traditional toothbrushes and floss. One of the most popular oral hygiene accessories is the interdental brush. This tool can help you take your oral hygiene to the next level!
Why Should You Improve Your Oral Hygiene?
The purpose of oral hygiene is to remove dental plaque from the teeth and gums. This is essential to maintaining good oral health because dental plaque contains the bacteria that cause both cavities and progressive gum disease.
In order to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you must remove dental plaque from all exposed tooth surfaces on a daily basis. The trick is getting to all of those exposed tooth surfaces. The average adult can do this with great brushing and flossing techniques.
Brushing and flossing may not reach all areas where dental plaque accumulates in some cases. In those cases, your dental professional will often recommend a new oral care accessory to help you improve your plaque removal.
What are Interdental Brushes?
Interdental brushes are small bristled tools that fit between two teeth to clean the area below the contact where the two teeth touch each other. They typically look like tiny pipe cleaners or toothpicks and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have a slightly conical or tree shape, while others are straight. Many are flexible and/or bendable to help you reach the teeth in the back of the mouth.
Some have typical toothbrush-type bristles, while others have small rubbery protrusions. It is important that these bristles are soft since they will likely contact the more delicate tooth structure of the roots.
How To Use An Interdental Brush?
Dental plaque is soft and easy to remove, so the most important thing to remember about using interdental brushes is to use them gently. You do not need to put a lot of pressure or hard scrubbing force on your teeth with interdental brushes.
You should insert the end of the interdental brush between two teeth, just below the area where they touch (called the contact). With light pressure, push the brush through this small space so that the bristles tough the sides of both teeth. You can use gentle back and forth motions, but do not scrub or scrape the sides of the teeth.
You can use interdental brushes quickly after a meal to remove impacted food particles. If possible, it is best to perform this cleaning near a sink so you can rinse the brush periodically. Ideally, you do not want to carry the bacteria in dental plaque from one site to another in your mouth.
Most interdental brushes can be bent to a 45 or 90-degree angle to help you reach the areas between your back teeth. You can reach most areas by approaching from the cheek side of the teeth, but in some cases, you might be able to reach more easily by approaching from the tongue side (such as on the upper molars).
Who Should Use Interdental Brushes?
Interdental brushes are a great tool for improving plaque removal in areas where the gum tissues do not completely fill the space between two teeth. Officially, dentists call these areas “open gingival embrasures”, and unofficially, we refer to them as “black triangles.” These openings typically collect large volumes of food debris and dental plaque.
Anyone with black triangles should consider adding interdental brushes to his or her oral hygiene routine. These open areas are common around dental implants and in patients who have previously suffered from gum disease. Gum recession and bone loss often leads to black triangles.
Interdental brushes are wonderful accessories for those who have difficulty manipulating traditional floss, such as people with arthritis in their hands or other physical challenges.
Which is the Best Interdental Brush?
There is not a single brand or style of interdental brush we can call “best” because different types may meet different needs. Make sure that your interdental brush bristles are very soft. They should not feel stiff or overly sharp on the ends when you feel them with your fingers.
The length of the bristles should be long enough to clean the sides of the teeth, but not so long that you have to force the brush between the teeth. If the interdental brush sizes are too large, you may apply too much pressure trying to insert it between the teeth, and this can damage your teeth and/or gums.
More Questions about Interdental Brushes? Call Rockland Dental Today!
Call Rockland Dental Specialists today at (845) 259-2500 or contact us to schedule a consultation with our gum experts. Our specialists can answer any question you have about oral hygiene techniques and assess your unique situation to make customized recommendations for you.