Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is not only mom’s bidding, but also the advice of expert dentists and dental hygienists worldwide. The suggestion isn’t just about the routine of brushing your teeth, but the cleanliness of the teeth throughout the day. The interdental brush is just the tool our mouths need.
What an Ordinary Toothbrush Can’t Do
Unfortunately, the ordinary tooth brush we are all familiar with does not always meet this purpose. The tight spaces between the teeth, or areas made inaccessible due to dental implements placed by the dentist, such as braces or retainers, are not cleaned properly by the ordinary tooth brush. This is because of the construction design of the brush. Bristles occupy a good part of an inch on the brush head. While the large number of bristles so conglomerated will provide greater cleaning power for the same number of strokes, the larger area makes it impossible for the bristles to reach inside such tight spaces. Hence, there is a chance that plaque will start building up in them.
It has been reported after clinical studies that the ordinary brush removes plaque from only about 60% of the oral cavity. The remaining plaque will, in time, cause caries, gingivitis and periodontal disease, ultimately resulting in pain and tooth loss. Since teeth are so essential for efficient food assimilation and speech, we must take all precautions to avoid the accumulation of plaque.
The Interdental Tooth Brush
The interdental tooth brush is specially designed to clean those hard to reach areas. It has a small head on a regular handle. The head is tiny and formed like a miniature bottle brush. This allows the head to penetrate the interdental space, or other spaces obscured by any braces etc. The bristles are fine, soft, and small.
One simple shape of the brush head is axial, with the bristles standing radial to the head. This would be more like a straight tooth pick but will have the cleaning ability of a brush. This straight brush is also referred to as the I-shaped brush. The I-shaped brush is good for cleaning the front teeth, but cannot be conveniently be used for cleaning the rear teeth. The cheeks obstruct that.
The L-shaped brush overcomes that difficulty. The L-shaped brush has its head formed in the shape of the English letter L. If the head of the I-shape brush is made sufficiently longer, the head can be bent into a right angle to give an L-shaped brush.
Some people say that the L-shaped brush cannot be used to clean the front teeth. However, it is possible to manipulate the brush horizontally such that the bent part of its head will stand vertical to the front teeth. With a little practice you can learn to use the L-brush to clean the front teeth as well.
A Variety of Sizes
Various sizes are available on the market, in both shapes, to match the size you need.
How to Use Them
- Hold the brush and push lightly so that it can enter into the interdental space, and then use a gentle to-and-fro motion to brush between the teeth.
- Make it a habit to start with the outside of the upper right molars cleaning successive interdental spaces and reaching the last upper molars. Then start with the insides of the upper left molars and move to the upper right molars. You have, hopefully, cleaned the interdental spaces in the upper teeth. Do the same with the lower teeth.
- After using the interdental brush, do remember to rinse your mouth, especially forcing water or antiseptic mouth wash through the interdental spaces.
Though this may seem time consuming at first, learning to use interdental brushes can greatly increase the health of your teeth and your body overall. Remember, “Every Tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond.”