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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.