Flossing with interdental brushes: exploring the correct ways of flossing

Flossing With Interdental Brushes

Traditional flossing is the act of cleaning between the teeth with a string floss.

But have you ever thought about flossing with interdental brushes instead?

Flossing is the first line of defense against gum disease, cavities and even bad breath. All of which almost always originate from those tricky and difficult to clean areas between the teeth.

No single method of flossing is suitable for all people and you should explore the various methods until you find the one that suits you the most.

Which is why in this article we attempt to answer the question of “Is flossing with interdental brushes the right way for me?”

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What exactly are Interdental Brushes?

An interdental cleaner for reducing bleeding and plaque is a type of brush that is similar in shape to a tooth pick. Except that the useful part (the part which goes between the teeth) is made of bristles (aka hair fibers) like the ones you find on a toothbrush.

Some of them are straight like the tooth pick, while other types have a bend in the working end. This makes them much easier to handle especially in the back area of the mouth where access is difficult. They also come in a variety of sizes to suit all needs.

Some are designed with larger hairs or longer handles for specific situations such as very wide spaces or people who have limited mouth opening.

They are usually sold in packs of 5 or 10 and are reusable. So each pack would last about 1 or 2 months if you follow a strict regimen of flossing 2 or 3 times a week.

Interdental Brushes vs Tooth Picks

The most obvious comparison is the comparison between an interdental brush and a tooth pick. Since they both have the same structure and shape, you might think that they both are equally effective and beneficial.

But that’s where you would be wrong. As you know by now, the working end of a tooth pick is made of wood while that of an interdental brush is made of bristles. This design carries 2 main benefits:

  • The hairs are far less damaging than wood. So you might expect that people who regularly use tooth picks to complain of pain or bleeding gums, quite rarely so with interdental brushes.
  • The bristles are mobile, so you could expect them to fit in the small areas between the teeth, and be far more efficient in cleaning compared to a rigid piece of wood.

All that remains for you to know is that tooth picks are probably the most harmful method of cleaning these days.

Interdental Brushes vs String Floss

String Floss is the most widely used method of flossing and has been so for many years. That’s because it is easy, cheap and efficient.

However, some people face some difficulties when using string floss. Such as children or people with issues of manual dexterity particularly the elderly and people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

People who have extra wide spaces between their teeth as a result of gum disease or recession also often find string floss ineffective. It is in these situations where the interdental brush shines.

Great it you have braces or dental implants

One more advantage of flossing with interdental brushes is for people who have braces. Flossing for people wearing braces is an absolute nightmare, and traditional string floss just doesn’t cut it.

Knowing how to use Interdental Brush with braces is far easier since they are rigid and with long handles. They are capable of fitting easily under the braces and are far more efficient in cleaning.

The same goes for people who have bridges or other forms of restorations where string floss is incapable of fitting under these restorations.

How to use interspace toothbrush

The usage of interdental brushes is extremely easy, all you have to do is point it in the area between the teeth and push (albeit carefully still). They are considerably larger than string floss, so they could cover a wider area and clean more efficiently in large spaces.

Interdental Brushes vs Waterpik

Waterpiks are the latest trend nowadays and to be frank, they truly changed the game of oral hygiene. Using a waterpik has been proven clinically (and with a lot of research) to be far more efficient than any other method of flossing. That includes  traditional string floss and even interdental brushes.

Waterpiks are capable in almost every situation. Children, people with disabilities or dexterity issues and even people with braces and bridges are able to use them. Waterpiks have solved all these problems, however, there is still an issue of the cost as well as the portability of the device.

Waterpiks are not cheap and the decision to buy and use one may not be suitable for everyone. Most of them are quite large and bulky – although some newer models are portable – making them unfit for travel. In these situations it is best to rely on other methods of flossing, such as string floss or interdental brushes.

Results of a 4 year Interdental Brushing study

A study was done by the university of British Columbia in 2010, and was published in the Canadian Journal Of Dental Hygiene. This 4 year study was aimed to answer that specific question, and it concluded the following:

  • Interdental brushes are far easier to use. Nearly twice the number of patients agreed that they would rather use interdental brushes as opposed to traditional string floss.
  • Interdental brushes reduced bleeding significantly, particularly in areas where string floss was deemed ineffective. Such as very wide spaces or areas that were difficult to reach in the back of the mouth.
  • People hated the use of string floss and most of them neglected its use after a while, unlike the group with interdental brushes.

​Flossing with Interdental Brushes Answered!

With the above comparisons between different flossing methods and the case study results, the bottom line is:

“Can interdental brushes effectively be used as a means of flossing and cleaning between the teeth?”

You can rest assured that the answer is Yes! There is no need to sit on the fence and wonder which is better between dental floss or interdental brush. We have you answer.

Have You Ever Tried a Water Flosser? 

String floss can be a pain and cause unsightly gum bleeding. A water flosser is more effective in removing plaque and also easy to use. Making it a perfect oral health addition for the family. View our best water flosser buyers guide here. 

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