Oral hygiene is crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. While most people are familiar with toothbrushes and dental floss, there’s another tool that can greatly enhance your oral care routine: interdental brushes. These small, specialized brushes are designed to clean the spaces between your teeth and offer numerous benefits, from preventing gum disease to reducing the risk of cavities. This informative article will explore how to use interdental brushes effectively to achieve optimal oral health.
What Are Interdental Brushes?
Interdental brushes, also known as interproximal brushes or proxy brushes, are small, thin brushes specifically designed to clean the gaps between your teeth, known as interdental spaces. These brushes come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, making it easy to find the one that best suits your needs.
Why Should We Use Interdental Brushes?
There are several reasons why should we use these brushes. We are here with some of the key reasons that will make you buy this type of brush.
- Enhanced Cleaning: Interdental brushes excel at removing food particles and plaque from the spaces between your teeth, which traditional toothbrushes often struggle to reach.
- Gum Health: Regular use of these brushes can help prevent gum disease by removing bacteria and debris that can lead to inflammation and infection.
- Cavity Prevention: Cleaning between teeth with the brushes can reduce the risk of cavities by eliminating plaque buildup in hard-to-reach areas.
- Fresh Breath: Effective removal of food particles and bacteria can also contribute to fresher breath.
- Orthodontic Care: These brushes are particularly useful for individuals with braces, bridges, or other orthodontic appliances, as they can clean around and between these devices.
How to Use Interdental Brushes
Before using an interdental brush, you must know how to use it properly. You can follow this guide before using a brush.
Choose the Right Size: Select an interdental brush that fits comfortably in the spaces between your teeth. Sizes vary, so you may need different sizes for different areas of your mouth.
Preparation: Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the interdental brush. You can also use an antiseptic mouthwash to rinse your mouth for added cleanliness.
Gentle Insertion: Hold the interdental brush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line and gently insert it between your teeth. Avoid forcing it into tight spaces, as this can damage your gums or teeth.
Gentle Back-and-Forth Motion: Once the brush is between your teeth, use a gentle back-and-forth motion to clean the sides of each tooth. Pay attention to the gum line and areas with dental work like fillings or crowns.
Don’t Forget Angles: Angle the brush slightly towards the gum line as you clean to ensure you reach hidden areas where plaque can accumulate.
Rinse and Repeat: Rinse the brush under running water frequently to remove debris and maintain its effectiveness. You can use the same brush for multiple teeth if it remains clean.
Finish with Floss: While interdental brushes are excellent for removing large debris and plaque, dental floss can complement your routine by cleaning in between teeth where the brush might not reach.
Regular Maintenance: Replace your interdental brush when the bristles become frayed or bent. This ensures effective cleaning and prevents damage to your teeth and gums.
Are Interdental Brushes As Good As Flossing?
Interdental brushes and dental floss are both effective tools for cleaning your teeth, but they have some differences. Whether one is “better” than the other depends on your individual needs, preferences, and how effectively you use them. Here are some points to consider:
Effective for Larger Spaces: Interdental brushes are particularly effective for cleaning larger spaces between teeth, especially if you have gaps or spaces due to missing teeth or dental work.
Easier for Some People: Many people find interdental brushes easier to use than floss, especially if they have dexterity issues, braces, or other orthodontic appliances.
Visible Cleaning: Interdental brushes allow you to see what you’re doing more easily, making it simpler to target specific areas between teeth.
Reusable: Interdental brushes are often reusable, which can be more environmentally friendly than disposable floss picks.
Effective for Tight Spaces: Dental floss can be better at reaching tight spaces between teeth and areas where teeth are closely packed together.
Plaque Removal: Flossing is excellent at removing plaque and debris from the tooth surfaces and gum line, helping to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Portable: Dental floss is highly portable and can be carried in your pocket or purse, making it easy to use anywhere.
Inexpensive: Traditional dental floss is usually more affordable than interdental brushes.
Which One to Use?
The choice between interdental brushes and dental floss often comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of your oral hygiene routine. Some people may find a combination of both tools to be the most effective way to clean their teeth.
It’s important to note that the most critical factor is using these tools correctly and consistently. Proper technique and regular use are more important than your chosen tool. Additionally, consulting with your dentist or dental hygienist can help you determine which tool or combination of tools is best suited to your oral health needs. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique dental situation.
What Size Interdental Brush Is Best?
The size of the interdental brush that is best for you depends on the size of the gaps or spaces between your teeth. Choosing the right size is crucial to ensure effective cleaning without causing any discomfort or damage.
Here are some general guidelines for selecting the best size of interdental brush:
Assess Your Interdental Spaces:
Carefully examine the gaps between your teeth. Are some spaces wider, while others are narrower? Are there tight spaces or areas with braces or dental work? You may find that you need different sizes of interdental brushes for different areas in your mouth.
Choose a Variety of Sizes:
Interdental brushes come in various sizes, typically labeled with numbers or colors that correspond to different diameters. Start with a variety pack that includes different sizes to see which one fits best in different areas of your mouth.
The interdental brush should slide comfortably between your teeth without excessive force. If it’s too tight and requires excessive pressure, switch to a smaller size. If it’s too loose and doesn’t clean effectively, try a larger size.
When using the brush, apply gentle pressure to avoid damaging your gums or teeth. The bristles should fit snugly into the gaps between your teeth without causing discomfort.
Consult Your Dentist:
Your dentist or dental hygienist can provide valuable guidance on the appropriate size of interdental brush for your specific needs. They can also demonstrate the correct technique for using these brushes effectively.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the best size for interdental brushes. It’s essential to assess your dental anatomy and select a range of sizes that fit comfortably in the spaces between your teeth. Experiment with different sizes to determine which ones work best for different areas in your mouth. Always remember to use gentle, controlled pressure when using the brushes to avoid any potential damage to your gums or teeth.
Do Dentists Recommend Interdental Brushes?
Yes, many dentists and dental hygienists recommend interdental brushes as part of a comprehensive oral hygiene routine. These brushes are particularly useful for cleaning the spaces between your teeth and can provide several benefits for your dental health.
Here are some reasons why dentists often recommend these brushes:
Effective Cleaning: The brushes can effectively remove food particles and plaque from areas between your teeth that are difficult to reach with traditional toothbrushes or dental floss.
Gum Health: Regular use of these brushes can help prevent gum disease by removing bacteria and debris that can lead to gum inflammation and infection.
Cavity Prevention: Cleaning between teeth with these brushes reduces the risk of cavities by eliminating plaque buildup in these hard-to-reach areas.
Orthodontic Care: These brushes are particularly beneficial for individuals with braces, bridges, or other orthodontic appliances, as they can clean around and between these devices.
Customized Care: Dentists can recommend specific interdental brush sizes and types based on a patient’s unique dental needs and the spaces between their teeth.
Demonstration and Education: Dentists and dental hygienists can demonstrate the proper technique for using interdental brushes and educate patients on their correct usage.
However, it’s important to note that the recommendation for interdental brushes may vary from person to person, depending on their dental health, the size of their interdental spaces, and their individual needs. Some individuals may find dental floss more suitable, while others may benefit more from using a combination of interdental brushes and floss.
Ultimately, the best advice regarding interdental brushes and other oral hygiene tools comes from your dentist or dental hygienist, who can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific dental condition and help you establish an effective daily oral care routine.
What Are the Disadvantages Of Interdental Brushes?
While interdental brushes are generally effective tools for cleaning between teeth and maintaining oral hygiene, they do have some potential disadvantages and limitations. It’s essential to be aware of these drawbacks to make an informed decision about whether interdental brushes are suitable for your oral care routine.
Here are some disadvantages of these brushes:
Size Variability: The Interdental brush comes in various sizes, and finding the right size for your specific gaps can be challenging. Using the wrong size may be less effective and could potentially harm your gums or teeth.
Initial Discomfort: If you’re new to using interdental brushes, they may cause initial discomfort or sensitivity as you adapt to the sensation of cleaning between your teeth.
Not Suitable for All Gaps: Interdental brushes may not be suitable for very tight spaces between teeth or in areas with dental work like crowns, bridges, or orthodontic brackets. Dental floss or other tools may be more appropriate in such cases.
Cost: Interdental brushes can be more expensive than traditional dental floss, especially if you need to replace them frequently due to wear and tear.
Environmental Impact: Some interdental brushes are disposable, which can contribute to plastic waste. Look for reusable or eco-friendly options if environmental concerns are important to you.
Learning Curve: Properly using these brushes requires a learning curve, as it can be challenging to maneuver the brush effectively between your teeth, especially in the back of your mouth.
Time-Consuming: Cleaning between each tooth with this brush can be time-consuming, especially if you have multiple gaps to clean.
Inconsistent Use: Some people may find it challenging to incorporate interdental brushing into their daily routine consistently.
The Best Interdental Brushes in the UK
The best interdental brushes in the UK can vary depending on individual preferences, needs, and oral health conditions. However, there are several reputable brands and popular interdental brush options available in the UK that are widely recommended. Here are some of them:
TePe is a well-known Swedish brand that offers a wide range of interdental brushes in various sizes and designs. They are known for their quality and effectiveness. TePe brushes are available in most pharmacies and online.
Wisdom Clean Between Interdental Brushes:
Wisdom offers a range of interdental brushes in different sizes, making it easier for users to find the right fit for their interdental spaces. They are widely available in the UK.
GUM Proxabrush Go-Betweens:
These interdental brushes from Sunstar GUM are designed to clean between teeth and around dental work. They come in different sizes and are available in the UK.
Oral-B Interdental Brush:
Oral-B, a well-known dental care brand, also offers dental brushes in various sizes. These brushes can often be found in supermarkets and drugstores across the UK.
Curaprox CPS Prime Interdental Brushes:
Curaprox offers the brushes known for their durability and efficiency. They are available in different sizes to suit various interdental spaces.
Sensodyne Interdental Brushes:
Sensodyne, known for its sensitivity-focused dental products, offers interdental brushes designed to be gentle on sensitive gums while effectively cleaning between teeth.
Corsodyl Interdental Brushes:
Corsodyl, a brand known for its gum care products, offers interdental brushes that can help maintain gum health by removing plaque and debris between teeth.
Interdental brushes are invaluable tools for achieving thorough oral hygiene. By incorporating them into your daily routine and following the proper techniques, you can significantly improve your dental health, reduce the risk of gum disease and cavities, and enjoy a brighter smile. Don’t forget to consult your dentist or dental hygienist for personalized recommendations on using the brushes for your specific needs. With consistent use and proper care, you can maintain a healthy and beautiful smile for years to come.