By: Diane Rochford RDH, BSc (Hons); Dental Wellness Trust Oral Hygiene Clinical Advisor
When it comes to cleaning in-between the teeth, what’s more effective – traditional floss or interdental brushes? We asked London-based Diane Rochford (RDH, BSc Hons), Oral Hygiene Clinical Advisor to the Dental Wellness Trust for her expert opinion:
“Every mouth, tooth and space between the teeth is different. Recent studies show that interdental brushes can be more effective than floss, but the key to effective interdental cleaning is doing it daily.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria which adheres to all tooth surfaces. If it’s not removed daily – by brushing and cleaning in between the teeth – the bacteria irritates the gums, causing them to look red and swollen, they may bleed when brushing – these are the signs of early gum disease.
At the Dental Wellness Trust we advocate easy, effective interdental cleaning that fits into your daily oral hygiene routine, to maintain good oral health. There are a range of different products available, but which is best?
Interdental brushes look like miniature bottle brushes, they are available in a range of sizes, easily identified by the colour of the handle. They are designed to fit snuggly between the teeth removing plaque efficiently. They can however be expensive to buy and frequently more than one size of brush is required.
Interdental sticks – like new Sunstar GUM Soft-Picks Advanced – have become increasingly popular and widely available. They are a good alternative to traditional wood sticks, the tapered rubber bristles remove interdental plaque and food debris with ease, they promote good oral hygiene habits and compliance.
Dental floss can also be successful for plaque removal if used daily and with good technique, especially where the interdental spaces are tight. Floss is relatively inexpensive and ‘floss on a handle’ makes it simple and effective to use.
Seeking advice from your dentist or oral hygienist is advised. They will recommend the best product, provide instruction for safe and effective use and motivate for daily use, with the aim of maintaining healthy gums and teeth for life.