What is interdental cleaning and why is it important? – by Claire Jennings

Posted on 22nd January 2022

The reason your dentist or dental hygienist consistently recommends a good oral hygiene routine, is to ensure the sufficient removal of plaque in the mouth. Plaque is a sticky substance made up of harmful bacteria and it consistently forms and multiplies in the oral environment. The bacteria in the plaque biofilm releases endotoxins that can cause demineralisation and decay of the teeth when mixed with sugars from the diet. This leads to cavities and eventually potential pain and need for dental treatment which could have been avoided if a better oral hygiene routine had been adopted earlier.  The bacteria left behind also creates a risk of gingivitis which means inflammation of the gums. This can further lead to periodontal disease and therefore bone loss around the teeth, resulting in eventual tooth loss if left untreated. Again, this is avoidable if sufficient plaque is removed on a regular basis.

Alongside brushing effectively before going to bed in the evening, and one other time during the day, we need to clean in-between the teeth every day with floss or interdental brushes as recommended by the DOH toolkit (2014). This is because brushing with your tooth brush only removes approximately 60% of the plaque in the mouth. The remaining 40% is left between the teeth where the bristles of your toothbrush are unable to reach. This is why the most common area for initial bone loss in periodontal disease and decay of the tooth surface is inter-proximally.

Interdental cleaning aids

There are a number of different tools that can be used to clean in-between the teeth ranging from interdental brushes, sticks, floss and water flossers. The most crucial element to interdental cleaning is the mechanical removal and disruption of the plaque biofilm therefore interdental brushes and floss are more effective than a water flosser which may leave some of the more harmful bacteria behind. In terms of interdental brushes, the biggest brush to fit through the interdental space is the most effective which could mean different sized brushes for different areas of the mouth, leaving floss for the smallest gaps. Your dental hygienist will suggest different interdental tools specific to your mouth and help you to achieve the most effective daily routine – all of our patients receive a customised oral health care plan. It is crucial to remember that it is what is done every day that will help to prevent dental problems in the future. We recommend regular appointments with your dental hygienist based on your current dental need with prevention as our number one priority.

Thank you for reading,

Claire Jennings

Related articles...

Book a Consultation

At Infinity Dental Clinic we see patients for routine dental check-ups with our dentists. Regular dental maintenance and good oral hygiene will ensure that you keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Book a Consultation