If you’re relying solely on brushing to keep your teeth clean, you’re missing nearly half the surface area of your teeth which, not surprisingly, lies between them. For that reason alone, interdental teeth cleaning should be an essential part of your oral care routine and never an optional extra.
By using floss or interdental brushes to remove the plaque from between your teeth, you’re helping to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. When put into perspective, a considerable amount of upside for just a couple of minutes effort each day.
When is the best time to clean interdentally?
It’s always best to set up a routine for when you’re not in a rush or when you’re not too tired to do it well. If you find you’re exhausted at the end of the day, then it’s a good idea to clean interdentally first thing in the morning or after lunch. Alternatively, if you like to go to bed with a clean mouth then cleaning interdentally before your nightly brush. Children should begin flossing, with parent help about age 8, as soon as they have two teeth in contact.
How do I floss?
Step 1. Wind approximately 45 cm of floss around your middle fingers and grip it tightly between your thumbs and index fingers.
Step 2.Keeping the thumb and forefingers close together, gently guide the floss between the teeth, taking care not to cut or damage your gums with an abrupt movement.
Step 3. You should use a gentle up-and-down motion that goes down one side of the tooth, just under the little collar of gum and then back up the other side (think of it as an on-the-side “c”)
How do I use an interdental brush?
Step 1. Choose the correct size interdental brush. Hold the interdental brush firmly between your thumb and index finger.
Step 2. Place in-between the teeth gaps and gently brush in and out a few times between each tooth.
Step 3. Rinse the brush under tap water after use and put the cover back on.
Never force the interdental brush between the teeth gaps. If you’re unsure, your dentist can advise which size is best for you. Ask your dentist for tailored guidance on oral hygiene techniques & aids to suit your mouth.
But I have braces!
If you have braces, a bridge, or implants it is extremely important to floss correctly and regularly. You may need to use a bigger floss width, incorporate interdental cleaners into your flossing routine, or use a floss threader to reach difficult areas around braces or bridges. Your dentist will demonstrate the correct flossing technique and discuss the best options for your situation.