Maintain healthy teeth and gums

As a result of improved oral hygiene and fluoride, more people are keeping their own teeth into old age. In order to continue to maintain healthy teeth and gums, a regime of brushing and rinsing twice a day should be combined with interdental brushing – cleaning between the teeth.

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Keep those hard to reach places clean

Even with regular brushing, your toothbrush will only clean the front, back and biting surfaces of the teeth, so food and plaque can still build up in the gaps between your teeth. It is important to remove this regularly or it can start to irritate the gums and contribute to the development of gum disease, cavities or bad breath. We recommend you clean between your teeth once a day, either in the morning or evening.

The major cause of tooth decay and gum disease is plaque. The formation of plaque is continuous and its growth cannot be stopped. Whilst brushing controls plaque formation around the surfaces of your teeth, it does not reach between your teeth and that’s why interdental brushing once a day is so crucial.

There are several ways to keep those hard to reach spaces clean, including:

Interdental brushes: These brushes come in different sizes because the gaps between teeth can vary. Follow your dentist’s or hygienist’s advice about how to use these and which sizes are appropriate. You should not force the brush into the space but it should fit snugly.

Dental floss or dental tape: These come in different widths and are used to clean between the teeth and below the gum line. It is best to use a gentle rocking motion to guide the floss between the teeth and use a fresh section for each gap.

Single tuft toothbrush: These are designed to get between the spaces of your teeth, plus you can brush near the base of your teeth.

Rubber tip stimulator: Rubber tipping strengthens the gums. You simply apply pressure to the gums to help prevent gingivitis.

Dental sticks: These are made from wood or plastic and have pointed ends for quick and easy cleaning.

Oral irrigation devices: These use a pressurised jet of water to remove plaque and other debris from the teeth. They can be particularly useful if you wear a brace or have a fixed bridge.

Don’t be put off if your gums bleed when you clean between your teeth. Regular cleaning, using the correct technique, can help improve your gum health and any bleeding should eventually subside.

Contact us to learn more about the right method of interdental brushing for you.

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Frequently asked questions

  • This depends on how the brush is looking. If the bristles have become worn and a bit shabby looking or if the wires are bending or twisting, it’s best to throw it out and replace it with a new brush. Often the interdental brushes last a few weeks.

  • You should clean between your teeth with an interdental brush every day.

  • No, you don’t need to use toothpaste on your interdental brushes. This may damage the bristles.

  • Ideally you would do your interdental brushing before you clean your teeth. Results have shown the mouth stays cleaner this way.

  • When you first start using interdental brushes, your gums may bleed a little and be a bit tender as you start to get rid of the plaque build-up. You can carry on using the brushes and as your gums and teeth get healthier the bleeding should lessen.

Dentist speaking to patient

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