Interdental cleaning

Why should I clean between my teeth?

Tooth brushing alone, either electric or manual does not reach and clean the surfaces between teeth. Interdental brushes or dental tape/floss can be used to clean and remove plaque from between teeth. If plaque is not removed by regular interdental cleaning then it can contribute to the development of gum disease and tooth decay.

When should I clean between my teeth, is it better before or after brushing?

You should clean between your teeth at least once a day, it is better to do it before brushing as this will remove any plaque or food particles in hard to reach places, which will then get brushed away.

What should I use to clean in between my teeth?

Interdental brushes - these have small bristled heads specially designed to clean between your teeth. They come in different widths to suit the sizes of the gaps between your teeth and you may need to use more than one size of brush.

Dental tape/floss – is good for cleaning between teeth where there is a tight gap. Dental tape is often preferred to dental floss as it is narrower and flatter, and therefore easier to slide between teeth.

Some people may need to use both a mixture of dental tape/floss and interdental brushes as the gaps in between their teeth vary in size. If you are unsure which method of interdental cleaning to use or are unsure about your technique, please discuss this with a member of our clinical team at your next visit.

How do I use dental tape/floss?

  • Pull 18 to 24 inches of tape/floss from the tape/floss dispenser
  • wrap the ends of the tape/floss around your index and middle fingers
  • hold the floss tightly around each tooth in a C shape, then move the floss back and forth in a push - pull motion and up and down against the side of each tooth.

Is it normal for gums to bleed when flossing or using interdental brushes?

It's fairly common for gums to bleed when you start flossing or using interdental brushes, as long as the bleeding stops quickly, it's not normally considered a problem.

How should I clean my bridge?

A bridge is a false tooth that is fixed to adjacent teeth, it is important to clean underneath a bridge to remove plaque and food debris. Oral B Superfloss can be used to clean bridges; it comes with a stiffened end and spongy end. The stiffened end should be threaded underneath the false tooth and gently move the spongy end between the gum and the base of the bridge, use a soft back-and- forth motion to remove plaque under the false tooth. Then wrap the spongy floss around the real tooth at the other side of the bridge, slide up and down to clean the adjacent tooth surface.

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