We all know that the foundation of healthy dental hygiene habits is brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing. But what happens when a new tool comes along and could change the way we view proper dental hygiene?

Here’s something you might be surprised to learn: while flossing is a vital part of preventing and fighting gum disease and periodontitis, it may not be the most effective method. Experts have started recommending adding a new tool to your dental hygiene routine: interdental brushes. Also known as proxy, spiral, or interproximal brushes, interdental brushing could revolutionize the way you care for your teeth.

What is Interdental Brushing?

Interdental means “between the teeth,” and interdental brushes do just that. The brushes are thin and cone-shaped with small heads and short bristles held together by wire. Picture a mascara wand, but for teeth!

Made to be inserted gently in between teeth, most interdental brushes have handles similar to toothbrushes, while some have a short or specially shaped handle to make them easier to grip.

Unlike traditional dental floss, interdental brushes can be reused several times and should be thoroughly rinsed off with hot water after going between each tooth. Just like a toothbrush, an interdental brush should be replaced when the bristles are worn or if the wire is bent.

Interdental brushes come in many different sizes, so it’s important to choose a size that can comfortably fit between your teeth without having to force it through. You may need to choose different sized brushes for both the front and back teeth, depending on the amount of space between each of your teeth.

Interdental Brushing v. Flossing

If you struggle to remember to floss –– or if you just simply don’t enjoy flossing –– interdental brushing may be a good alternative for you to consider. There are pros and cons to each option, which we will unpack below.

What You Should Know About Interdental Brushes:

  • More effective at removing food particles and bacteria from between teeth
  • Easier to use, especially for people with limited hand and finger dexterity
  • Effective for navigating between braces and wires

What You Should Know About Dental Floss:

  • Less expensive than interdental brushes
  • Good for fitting very tight spaces, but also can tear coming out of tight spaces
  • Time-consuming to clean every tooth correctly
  • More difficult to use to clean teeth with braces

Regardless of how you choose to clean the spaces between your teeth, the important part is that you do it. Poor oral hygiene almost always leads to an increase in tooth decay and cavities. Taking the time to thoroughly clean between your teeth with either dental floss or interdental brushes is the best way to remove any food particles and bacteria that can cause plaque and tartar buildup.

Whenever you have questions about your dental hygiene habits, contacting your general dentist is the best thing to do. Keep up with your regular dental exams and cleanings, and always contact your dentist any time you’re concerned about your teeth or gums. Your dentist knows your teeth best and will help direct you to the best tools to keep your smile healthy for years to come!

Here at Endodontic Specialists, we know that keeping your gum tissue healthy is an important part of any oral hygiene routine. But sometimes even the best prevention methods can’t protect you from events that require root canal therapy. That’s why our specially trained team of doctors is always ready to relieve your pain and restore your smile. Contact us to learn more about how we can help!