Cleaning Between The Teeth OR Interdental Cleaning
- Interdental cleaning refers to cleaning between the teeth.
- Decay usually starts on the chewing surfaces of teeth and at the contact point between the teeth.
- Plaque and food particles stick to the teeth in these areas.
- The bacteria in plaque are able to convert these food particles into acids.
- It is the major cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
- You need to be aware of the fact that plaque is being formed continuously.
- Plaque formation and growth cannot be stopped.
It can only be controlled by regular daily brushing, flossing and the use of other dental aids.
This must be accompanied by a six monthly dental scaling and polishing of the teeth.
- There are two essential daily routines that will prevent decay and gum disease.
They are to brush your teeth and clean between your teeth, at least twice a day.
- Tooth brushing is necessary, but it cannot reach between the teeth.
- Cleaning between the teeth is made possible by the use of the following:
- Dental floss
- Interdental brushes
- Single tuft toothbrushes
- Dental sticks
- Rubber tip stimulators
- Irrigation devices.
- Why it is important to use dental floss.
- Dental floss is the best way to clean the tooth surfaces between the teeth.
- Different types of floss are available, such as regular floss, dental tape and super floss.
- Floss is also available on a plastic holder, in the shape of a bow. It forms "the string of the bow" and it makes flossing very manageable.
- Here are a few tips for flossing as demonstrated below:
- Use a 12-15inch (30-40cm) length of floss.
- Wrap the floss around your middle fingers.
- Hold the floss between the thumb and forefinger of each hand.
- Leave about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
- The floss must be taut when it is used.
- Gently guide the floss across the contact point between the teeth.
- When the floss is in position between the teeth, rub it up and down a few times against each tooth surface, one after the other.
- This is then repeated for all the teeth in the mouth.
- Be careful not to cut your gums with the floss.
- A sharp downward thrust of the floss will damage the gum and make it bleed.
- Your dentist will be happy to show you how to floss, and choose which floss is best for you.
- The floss holders shown above are easy to use, if you have difficulty using the conventional floss.
Floss on hands
- Interdental (interproximal) brushes
- These are triangular shaped small brushes, like little bottlebrushes.
- They are very useful for cleaning between the teeth.
- They fit onto a plastic handle, and are available in varying sizes.
- Select the size of brush that is best suited to you.
- Gently push the brush back and forth into the spaces between the teeth.
- This interdental brush is best suited to teeth that have spaces between them, caused by gum recession.
- Some degree of gum recession is seen in most mouths by middle age, and in those with gum disease, at any age.
- End or single tuft toothbrushes
- These are toothbrushes with only one tuft of bristles.
- They are used where the normal, multi-tufted toothbrushes cannot reach.
- These brushes are designed for brushing around crowns, bridges, displaced and rotated teeth.
End tuft brush
- Interdental picks or sticks
- These are specially designed soft wooden wedges for cleaning between teeth. They can be used after meals or at any time.
- The end of the stick should be moistened and softened in the mouth before use.
- Gently insert the stick between the teeth, with the flat edge facing the gum.
- Then move it in and out gently to clean the teeth and massage the gums.
- Food trapped between the teeth can be removed with these sticks.
- They are effective for mouths where receding gums have left spaces between teeth.
- The sticks should only be used where there is sufficient space to allow the free movement of the stick between the teeth. Do not force them into position.
- They should not be used if they cause any bleeding.
- They are not suitable for children.
Stick in use
Stick in use
- Interdental rubber tip stimulators
- These are pointed rubber tips that are fitted to a toothbrush handle.
- They are used to stimulate and toughen up the triangular soft gum between teeth.
- Your dentist or periodontist will tell you if you need them.
Rubber tip stimulator
- Pulsating water or medicament spraying devices
- Irrigating devices provide a steady or pulsating stream of water under pressure through a nozzle. They are especially useful in mouths with fixed bridges, and for cleaning between teeth.
- They should not be used as a substitute for toothbrushing.
- Ask your dentist before you buy one.
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