Interdental Products: Are They Essential For Your Oral Health?

Brushing your teeth daily is essential, yet more is needed to maintain healthy teeth and gums. A regular brush cannot reach the space between teeth — the interdental space. To make up for a toothbrush that can't get into those hard-to-reach spaces, interdental products are a great option. They are designed to help clean food debris and plaque between teeth. You may have heard of these products but wonder if you need them. We have the right article for you.

Key takeaways:

Brushing alone removes only up to 60% of the plaque from your mouth. Unfortunately, they leave the areas with the greatest plaque accumulation at risk — the interdental spaces. Therefore, dentists often recommend interdental products to clean these areas and minimize dental problems.

How interdental products help oral health

Maintaining oral health depends on taking proper oral hygiene measures, diet, and overall health. Global authorities, including the ADA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have repeatedly highlighted that interdental cleaning is essential to regular oral hygiene practice.

Interdental spaces are prone to trapping leftover food particles and, unfortunately, cannot be reached with a conventional toothbrush. Therefore, with time, these areas form plaque and tartar. As these build up, they feed pathological oral microbes, initiating gum infections, periodontitis, and cavities. The key to avoiding such dental problems is to prevent debris accumulation by cleaning the interdental spaces regularly. When used correctly and with expert guidance, interdental products can significantly boost oral hygiene.

Supervised interdental cleaning is vital to avoid potential dental diseases. Consult your dentist to learn about the different interdental aids. They can guide you on what suits you and how to use them.

Types of interdental products

Interdental products vary in design depending on their purpose. While there are many options, selecting the best interdental aid depends on teeth anatomy, position, the size of the gaps between teeth, and overall oral health status. For example, a floss is a good option if you have closely placed or crowded teeth. On the other hand, an interdental brush or an oral irrigator may suit you better if you have wide gaps between teeth.

  • Floss. Dental floss is widely used and can be waxed, unwaxed, and made with nylon or plastic monofilaments. Experts advise how you floss and how regularly you do so is crucial. According to a study, flossing first and then brushing with fluoride toothpaste is more effective in eradicating interdental plaque. This also helps in higher fluoride retention between teeth. In addition, flossing five days a week reduces interproximal cavities.
  • Interdental brushes. These can remove plaque up to 2.5 mm below the gum line and are among the most potent interdental cleaning aids available. Interdental brushes are small-headed toothbrushes that come in various sizes to fit the area between teeth. They are easy to use and are well-suited for people with wide gaps between teeth. These brushes are also an excellent option for people with dental implants.
  • Oral irrigators. These are also called water flossers and are very effective in removing plaque. If manual flossing is difficult and time-consuming, an oral irrigator can help. Moreover, dentists often recommend an oral irrigator for individuals with physical limitations, people with crowns and bridges, or wearing a brace.
  • Wooden picks/sticks. Toothpicks help remove plaque subgingivally and improve gum health. Research shows that when used in conjunction with brushing, they help reduce gum bleeding.
Only an expert can guide you on how to use an interdental aid. Visit your dentist and discuss your concerns to understand how different aids work and determine which is right for you.

How often should I clean interdentally?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice daily and cleaning between teeth once daily. You can floss first and then brush or vice versa; both ways are acceptable. The bottom line is to make sure that cleaning the interdental areas accompanies regular brushing.

Can interdental products replace brushing?

Brushing and interdental cleaning, when done together, provide a much better oral hygiene outcome. Brushing twice daily is necessary. You should consider interdental aids as an addition to regular brushing, not an alternative.

The global market for interdental products is growing steadily, and there are plenty of scientific reasons for it. Dentists worldwide support their use as an adjunct to brushing. Used correctly and with professional supervision, interdental aids can be a game-changer for oral and dental health. Your dentist is the best person to guide you on this.

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