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Which is better- Flossing or Interdental Brushing?

Which is better- Flossing or Interdental Brushing?

Earlier we discussed the benefits of flossing and now we bring you advice on how to use interdental brushing.

We know how important it is to clean between the teeth to ensure we have removed food particles & plaque.

Under many situations, especially when the gaps between the teeth are troubling you, interdental brushes are a convenient option. They are easy to use and remove plaque very well.

Another option is dental floss and is recommended for use where the gaps in your teeth may be too hard to clean with an interdental brush.

Patients may also have a personal tendency for using one or the other or maybe mix them up. Research does show that these brushes provide better plaque removal than floss.

What Is an Interdental Brush? How to use it?

“Inter” means between and"dental" means teeth. An interdental brush has tiny bristled heads designed to clean between the teeth no matter how small the space is.

They come in different sizes suitable for different widths of the gaps. Some are designed for orthodontic braces.

They are available with pharmacists, convenience stores and at your dentists'.

They look somewhat like a mascara brush. They have a plastic handle and an extended flexible bristled wire.

To use the interdental brush, start from one side, simply insert it between two teeth and gently pull out.

Work your way around the gaps systematically so that you don’t miss any of them.

If you are using them for the first time, you might experience bleeding or tenderness.

It indicates that your gums were not healthy. However, as you continue the process as a routine, the gums will become cleaner and healthier, and the bleeding will stop.

In case it doesn't, consult your dentist for advice about using them correctly.

What is Dental Floss? How to Use It?

Dental floss is a soft thread of silk or similar material used to dislodge food and plaque from between teeth.

To use it, you have to break off the thread about 15 inches, hold It taut between your fingers and insert it in gaps.

Then you slide it in an upward movement rubbing both the sides of each tooth. Again, do it in a regular pattern, so you do not miss any side or plane.

If you find flossing difficult or have stiff fingers, some floss comes with a handle, or you may use interdental brushes.

Interdental Brushes vs. Dental Floss

There is an ongoing debate on which one is better and it would go on.

Selecting either interdental brushing or flossing is mostly a personal option. 

Both have their advantages and both reduce plaque and prevent tooth decay.

Let us see the unique advantages of both and how they are useful in different situations.

Interdental brushes

Are More Useful at Rubbing Out a Lodgement

Most patients find them better adept at wiping out particles and bacteria from the mouth.

Easier to Use

Patients also find them easier to use than floss especially if they have limited hand and finger agility.

Some people find using floss cumbersome, mostly the senior citizens.

Better Accepted by Patients

When a doctor advises a patient to floss regularly, he is more likely to ignore the advice.

Our dentists at Kirkland Premier Dentistry have noticed that patients who were advised to use interdental brushes, come to the next visit with cleaner teeth and gums!

Those who were advised to floss, still came back with gingivitis, mostly.

Great for Orthodontic Devices

Braces, wires and similar corrective devices mandate a more thorough cleaning process and these tiny bristle brushes work great for those too.

Considerably Reduces Bleeding

While it is advisable or practical to floss a bleeding site in the mouth, these tiny brushes can be used safely.

As a portion of the mouth still remains unreachable with floss, for efficient management of inflammation, patients should use interdental brushes that cover all the in-between spaces.

Even Suitable for Critical Areas

Interdental brushes are made of extremely fine, yet strong bristles that can clean the gaps gently and without harm.

Used wisely, they prevent cavities and periodontitis.

Dental Floss

Well, if you don't like to floss, it is time you tried the interdental brush. Or you can mix and match. 

At Kirkland Premier Dentistry Dr. Gaurav Sharma has 400+ hours of Continuing education from the prestigious AAID (American Academy of Implant Dentistry) He applies for the latest research & advances in dentistry to provide the best dental care to patients.

Face it, you have to clean the gaps and gum line, so the sooner you lay your hands on one, the better. They come in all shapes and sizes.

Contact your nearest dental clinic to find the best type for your needs.

Author
Dr. Gaurav Sharma Dr. Gaurav Sharma Dr. Gaurav Sharma has been in practice since 2015, after graduating with his DDS from New York University with honors in Implant Dentistry that same year. Before moving to the U.S., Dr. Gaurav practiced in India for 4 years as an Associate Dentist after graduating from one of the top dental schools in India with a Bachelors's in Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2009. He is a good listener who takes time to explain different treatment options so patients fully understand. He takes pride in bringing smiles back to his patients. With his experience, skills & passion for dentistry, Dr. Sharma can provide the best dental care to his patients.

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