FAQs for Interdental Brushing
Inter-dental, as the name suggests, means in between the teeth. Brushing your teeth twice a day, in general, is recommended by Dentists or Dental hygienists at the Canadian Dental Association. Now, while regular brushing is important, cleaning your inter-dental areas is as important. We are familiar with a few inter-dental cleaning tools like floss. Dental floss is the most convenient method that has been used since ages for inter-dental cleaning. Another tools at hand for inter-dental brushing are Inter-dental brushes and inter-dental picks. Oral irrigators or Air floss is another method which can be employed for inter-dental brushing. However, Oral irrigators or Air floss are quite expensive and cannot be used on the go. Some people use wooden sticks for cleaning the interdental area, but it is not recommended due to its inadequacy in cleaning and higher risk of tissue damage.
Why do we need Inter-dental Brushing?
You are familiar with Plaque formation on your teeth after you eat or drink something. Now, the plaque formation is no different in between your teeth than on the other surfaces of your teeth. However, it is difficult to clean that plaque compared to other areas. Accumulation of plaque is no friend of your teeth. So, removing it would be advised to prevent dental and periodontal problems. Hence, inter-dental brushing is recommended by Dentists and Hygienists along with your regular brushing.
What is Dental floss and how do I choose the Dental Floss from so many available options?
Dental floss is a thin wire-like string used as tool to clean between your teeth. When you go to a chemist shop or a supermarket to replace your empty floss, you often see a variety of options which confuses you, so you often go for the regular one which is easy on your pocket. While the regular floss works well for many people, sometimes choosing a wrong dental floss might not be helpful for the ideal cleaning between the teeth. Now to understand this, lets assume that due to certain periodontal problems or advancing age, the gums have receded so there is more space which would require a thicker floss strand, hence a regular single filament floss would not serve the purpose of cleaning properly.
Choosing the right dental floss can be tricky. There are variety of flosses available like multi-filament, single filament, waxed, non-waxed etc. It mainly depends on the type of space between your teeth. Let’s simplify this down for you. You can classify your spaces in between the teeth into 3 categories:
Type 1: The space in between the teeth is completely filled by your gums.
Type 2: The space is partially empty, and gums do not fill it completely.
Type 3: The space in between the teeth is only partially filled with gums and majority of the space is empty.
If you have type 1 space, you need a thinner floss compared to type 2 and 3. You should always visit your dentist or dental hygienist in order to choose a right floss for yourself.
What is an inter-dental brush and how do I choose the right size of Inter-dental brush?
Inter-dental brushes are an aid to level up your oral hygiene habits. Inter-dental brushes help maintain better periodontal health since it effectively removes the plaque from the areas which would otherwise be difficult to reach to. Inter-dental brushes are specially designed to reach those tiny spaces in between the teeth where the regular toothbrush cannot reach. Inter-dental brush is usually curved in a C-shape with tufts of soft bristles arranged circularly around a wire loop. They come in various sizes and shapes to choose from for optimal cleaning.
What we are looking for here is a perfect fit between your teeth. The inter-dental brush should easily move back and forth when kept in the space between your teeth. If it is too loose, it’s of no use. If it is difficult to move the brush or if it is too tight, then there is a risk of damaging the gum tissue. Your dentist or Dental hygienist will help you with appropriate selection of the inter-dental brush.
What’s the deal about Inter-dental picks?
Inter-dental picks are just another aid that help you with inter-dental brushing. These picks have rubber bristles which are easier to use and gentle to gum tissue as compared to floss and interdental brushes. Inter-dental picks stimulate the blood flow by massaging the gums.
Here is just the pictorial representation of how to use a mouthwash?
Now, you must be wondering if Inter-dental brushes and Inter-dental picks are better than Dental Floss?
Dental Floss is well-known for interdental cleaning however people find Inter-dental brushes and inter-dental picks a better aid and easier to use. Dental floss requires certain amount of dexterity for use and might not be easy to use for someone who started. This lack of skill to use dental floss might lead to injuries to gum tissues. Hence, it requires practice and proper technique to be used and it should be learnt from your Dentist or Dental hygienist. Inter-dental brushes are easier to use with angular head and soft bristles and it requires minimum skill and technique. However, you still run a risk of abrasions on gum if done too hard. On the other hand, inter-dental picks are getting popular these days with newer upgrade in which the head and bristles both are made up of soft rubber. It is the most convenient and easy to use aid quickly catching public attention with no risks of tissue damage.
In conclusion, different methods and techniques of inter-dental brushing are available and you should choose according to your convenience. So whatever floats your boat!