Does toothbrushing twice a day keeps the dentist away? Not quite. Your dentist plays a crucial role in your oral care. An important way is by advising you on the best ways to achieve optimal oral health; among them is interdental cleaning. As Stephen Loat explains in an article for the Oral Health Foundation, a toothbrush reaches only 60% of the tooth’s surface. This is down to how toothbrushes are designed. Interdental brushes are smaller and specially designed to clean the narrow gaps between your teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. (Source: Oral Health Foundation, Cleaning between teeth: the secret behind a truly healthy smile, by Stephan Loat, June 15, 2021, https://www.dentalhealth.org/blog/cleaning-between-teeth-the-secret-behind-a-truly-healthy-smile ).
Interdental cleaning is a part of daily oral care
Good oral hygiene depends on individuals’ commitment to cleaning their teeth effectively. Effective dental cleaning means getting to those hard-to-reach surfaces of your tooth where debris and plaque rest cozily until they’re kicked out. An interdental toothbrush makes your job easy, letting you clean easily between your teeth and reducing the likelihood of decay, infections, caries, gum disease, and other dental complications. It translates to fewer visits to the dentist other than the recommended six-month dental checkup. It also means fewer costly dental exams (especially if you don’t have insurance).
Choosing an interdental toothbrush in the right size is important
“Ensure you’re doing the right things for your oral health,” advises Torbram Dental. “Use a pea-sized blob of fluoride toothpaste, hold the bristles near the gum line at a 45-degree angle upward, and use the right-sized interdental toothbrush to clean interdental spaces.” By following Stephen Loat’s tips, you’ll easily find the right interdental tool to take oral care to the next level and keep dental checkups to a minimum.
An interdental toothbrush is available in different sizes to suit interdental spaces of every width. Each brush has bristles, a plastic-coated wire in the middle, and a user-friendly handle. Start with the smallest size. Work your way up until you feel the brush bristles on your tooth surface and gum tissue. While the brush should have a snug fit, the wire should not touch the sides of the teeth or gums. Now, move the brush back to its full length back and forth two to three times.
Depending on your interdental spaces, you may need brushes in two or three different sizes for effective dental cleaning. Most manufacturers have colour-coded interdental brushes to make it easy to tell sizes apart.
Good oral health demands using interdental toothbrushes correctly
Aggressive use of dental tools can lead to enamel abrasion and gum recession. When they come to light during a dental exam, your dentist will review your dental (or even your medical) history, habits (such as smoking), and how you’re using dental tools. If aggressive brushing is the culprit, you will regret not following the proper brushing techniques.
As far as interdental cleaning is concerned, Stephen Loat advises inserting the brush gently between the teeth and moving it back and forth a few times. When cleaning your back teeth with an interdental brush, curve the soft neck slightly by applying pressure with your fingers to reach between the back teeth easily. When using a larger brush, slightly curve the wire.
“Aggressive motions will not remove tartar. For that, you need dental cleaning performed by your dentist. Gentle movements are sufficient to remove food particles and plaque. Following the right brushing and flossing techniques is among the easiest things you can do to avoid the frequent dental exam.” says Torbram Dental.
Interdental cleaning is an important at-home oral hygiene best practice. This, along with daily toothbrushing and flossing and routine dental checkups/dental exams, will keep your mouth in good health.