We are sure you brush your teeth to get rid of plaque. However, are you aware that a toothbrush can only reach up to 60 percent of the surface of the tooth? In order to reach the rest, you need to use an interdental brush.

It is also known as an interproximal brush which is basically a thin brush with the back of a regular toothbrush.

This cylindrical design helps to reach the interdental spaces where plaque hides.

Your brush cannot reach there as it is not thin enough.

Though, floss and interdental brush can.

This article discusses the uses and benefits of this special kind of brush.

Keep reading to know how you can clean your teeth using it.

interdental brush need

Why Do You Need an Interdental Brush?

If you are brushing teeth and flossing regularly, then you are fulfilling most of the oral hygiene requirements.

However, you can still miss out on a few delicate spaces with these two.

You can cover the front and back of teeth but it is hard to reach besides the teeth.

The side of teeth is known as interdental spaces.

When you eat food particles, the bacteria feed on them and form a biofilm.

This biofilm is plaque.

Plaque easily accumulates on these interdental spaces because there is less disruption here.

Your tongue isn’t thin enough to feel it or push it out of the way. Plus, that area contains nutrients.

Hence, plaque on teeth can keep growing there amounting to oral diseases such as gingivitis.

Though dental floss can also reach these spaces, these brushes are more precise and hurt less. More on that later!

Their small bristled head reaches these spaces easily, hence, you do need them to completely get rid of plaque inside your mouth.

The spaces however are different for every person.

Thus, these brushes come in varying sizes.

You need to choose a brush that is the correct diameter.

Thicker brushes are for wider spaces while thinner ones are for narrower spaces.

While choosing it is important to keep in mind that the filaments should touch the teeth and clean the space properly.

Hence, you need to measure your space in order to choose the right brush.

The best way is to go to your dentist and let them measure your space precisely.

This way they can guide you about the most accurate interdental brush size ranging from 0.6mm to 1.3mm.

Furthermore, they can show you a sample and you can try using it in front of them.

This avoids bleeding as there is a proper use of these brushes.

dentist showing how to use interdental brush

How to Use It?

Interdental brush bleeding is common if you pick the wrong size and do not use it carefully.

Once you have the right shape and size of the brush, it is time to get to work.

You may require more than one size for differently spaced teeth.

You can use it right after brushing your teeth or even before it.

Though, it is better to use it after you brush.

Slowly and gently push the brush head through the spaces.

Move it from outside towards the inside the teeth spaces as well as in back and forth motion.

You can curve the neck wire where you need it but do not rotate as it can harm the gums.

Insert the brush gently in between the molars, then make your way along the arch of jaw to finally reach the incisors.

Do so on both arches upper and lower.

Finally, wrap it up by rinsing your mouth off the food debris and plaque.

There is a chance that your gums might bleed while using it.

If that happens then it indicates your gums are already tender.

Gingivitis has already begun.

Hence, when you poke the area around it you get bleeding gums.

Though it is nothing to worry about, in fact, it is good news.

You detect gingivitis early on and as you keep using the brush to get rid of the plaque, your gum health improves.

Hence, you will no longer see any bleeding as it helps to improve your gum care.

Though, if you still do, then visit your dentist.

Your gingivitis can worsen leading to other oral health problems such as periodontal disease and even tooth loss.

You can combine using this brush with floss and mouthwash.

That helps to keep all oral bacteria at bay and gives you the best oral health.

However, they do not replace toothbrushing.

woman with braces cleaning teeth

Who Can Use It?

Everyone should add the brush to their oral care routine.

It can complement flossing to achieve maximum oral health benefits and eliminate plaque.

Hence, anyone from children to adults and seniors can all use these brushes.

In fact, an interdental brush for braces and other orthodontic treatments is quite useful.

When you are wearing an orthodontic appliance such as teeth braces, jaw splint or space maintainer then it is easier to get food stuck inside.

Especially when it comes to braces either they are traditional metal, damon, ceramic or lingual, they all have wires and brackets.

Therefore, it is difficult to brush your teeth and even floss properly across these wires and brackets.

As a result, you are more at risk of getting gingivitis.

This will not only harm your teeth and gums but will also delay your treatment.

It is vital to maintain excellent oral health while getting orthodontic treatment.

Food debris and plaque can accumulate along the archwire and brackets.

Brushing is hindered by the brackets and flossing can become painful and obstructed because of the wires.

In this situation, you need something that can directly access the debris and plaque.

And that is an interproximal brush.

It will keep your mouth clean so that your treatment proceeds accordingly without any delay.

By eliminating plaque and food debris it clears the risk of getting cavity, tooth decay, gum disease and gingivitis.

Furthermore, it prevents periodontal disease and interdental caries.

This is a simple step that you can include in your daily routine without replacing the usual brushing, flossing and mouthwash.

However, some may argue that these brushes are actually better than flossing.

Want to know how? Keep reading to find that out.

woman flossing teeth

Interdental Brush vs Flossing

Both floss and these brushes can reach the interdental space.

However, flossing may not be as effective because it can hurt gums and cause pain.

You can cut your gums accidentally if you are not gentle and use it harshly.

Also, the brushes are not as aggressive and reach the areas more precisely to clean effectively.

Though, in some areas, floss reaches more easily than circular brushes.

When you go to your dentist to measure your space then they can guide you about the places where only a floss is suitable to reach.

The brushes destroy the biofilm by simply moving it inside and outside the space.

After you are done you can clean it and reuse it.

However, you may have to discard your floss after a single-use.

Moreover, brushes have bristles rather than a thread so they can reach plaque and debris in small corners.

Hence, you can replace your floss with the brush but it is better to complement these two together.

interdental brushing by dentist

Though, one brush may not fulfill all your needs.

You can require brushes of different sizes.

For instance, a thinner diameter will work for the incisors that have little space between two teeth.

However, a thicker diameter will suit the molars at the back of the mouth.

Plus a thinner brush’s bristles can be short that they may not clean the plaque and debris effectively.

Though, a thicker one may not even fit in the space, to begin with.

Hence, you need to choose an interdental cleaning brush wisely and will probably need more than one brush.

The best option is to let your dentist choose for you instead.

However, if you find it hard to brush then let your dentist show you how it’s done.

Rest assured it is simpler than using floss.

woman using interdental brush

Oral Care with Interdental Brush


These brushes help to reduce the inflammation and irritation that can happen between interdental gums.

Your dentist may recommend this for gingivitis.

Therefore, it prevents your gums from bleeding as it clears off plaque.

As a result, gingivitis and periodontitis reduce.

Furthermore, it reaches the spaces where neither the toothbrush nor the floss can reach.

It reaches inside the place precisely and is even more comfortable to use than floss.

It is easier to use and does not cause any cuts.

All the teeth are not easy to clean, however, they manage to back molars thanks to their flexible material and filaments.

Clearing plaque and bacteria inside your teeth is essential to good oral health.

However, your brush alone is not enough for that.

If you do not clean it, you will soon get caries or yellow teeth along with other serious oral problems.

Therefore, add this simple too in your oral care routine.

It does not replace your existing routine, it just adds protection that you cannot achieve with your existing routine anyway.

woman cleaning teeth through braces

Summing Up 

An interdental brush will clear away plaque from spaces your brush will not be able to reach.

Hence, it is important to use it especially if you wear an orthodontic appliance such as braces or implants.

Along with brushing and flossing, it can keep your mouth in an optimum hygienic environment.