11 Aug 2017
There are many tools your dentist may recommend to help you take care of your teeth. While most of us are accustomed to using standard toothbrushes, floss, and mouthwash, you might be caught somewhat off guard if your dentist were to recommend that you use interdental brushes.
An alternative to flossing
Interdental brushes are commonly used as a replacement for standard dental floss by individuals who have a hard time flossing their teeth. For example, people who wear braces, individuals with receding gums and large gaps between the teeth, and those with limited mobility often use interdental brushes to clean between their teeth. Some people simply choose to use these brushes because they don’t like to floss!
Interdental brushes can serve as a highly effective method of cleaning the hard to reach areas between your teeth. They have also been found to be effective for cleaning the areas between implants, dentures, and gums.
Of course, as with any relatively new dental apparatus, some people feel nervous about using interdental brushes for the first time. How can you be sure that your interdental brush is effectively cleaning the spaces between your teeth? Even more importantly, how do you know that you’re not accidentally causing harm to your gums or teeth while using an interdental brush?
How to properly use an interdental brush?
The first step is to make sure that you choose an interdental brush that is the right size for the spaces between your teeth. Interdental brushes come in a wide range of sizes, making it relatively easy to find one that fits your mouth. This is important, because you need to find a brush that will fit comfortably into these tighter spaces. Trying to force a brush that is too big into this space could very well cause you to hurt your gums and do more harm than good.
In some cases, you might need to get different interdental brushes for different parts of your mouth. For example, many people use “I” shaped brushes for their front teeth and “L” shaped brushes for their back molars. The different brush styles and sizes allow them to more easily reach the gaps between their teeth. Your dentist can help you determine which size(s) are the best fit for you.
To get the best results from your interdental brushes, start by inserting the brush in the area known as the “triangle gap” — the small space between your teeth. Gently insert the brush into this area, from the outer side first and slowly slide it in and out between the teeth two or three times with a slight pressure towards your gums. Then move onto the inside and repeat the movement. Gentle brushing is key to effectively removing plaque and food debris, as well as ensuring that you won’t harm your gums. Try to rinse it off as you move from tooth to tooth as you don’t want to move bacteria from one area to the next.
After you have finished using the interdental brush, be sure to rinse it off just as you would a regular toothbrush.
As with your regular toothbrush, extended use of interdental brushes means that you’ll eventually need to purchase a replacement in order to guarantee effective cleaning. Pay attention to the condition of your interdental brush, and watch for worn bristles. Once this starts to appear, it’s time to purchase a new brush.
By following these simple principles, you’ll be able to safely use your interdental brushes and improve your oral hygiene. Most dentists recommend that you use your interdental brush once a day, and by implementing this tool into your daily dental routine, you can dramatically improve your overall oral health. You don’t have anything to worry about! Ask your dentist if interdental brushes could help you take better care of your teeth.