Interdental Brush – An Alternate to Dental Floss

Brushing of teeth is essential to maintain good oral hygiene and so is cleaning the interdental areas of the mouth.

A regular toothbrush can only clean the surfaces of the teeth that are exposed to the oral cavity. A regular toothbrush cannot reach interdental spaces.


Flossing is usually the common method adopted by many people to clean the areas between the teeth.

While dental floss is an efficient way to maintain oral health and hygiene, the interdental brush has proven to be more effective in removing plaque between the teeth.

Interdental brushes are easy to use and a practical alternative to dental floss.

The interdental brush consists of a circular head with bristles all around the circumference. This brush fits accurately in the interdental space between the teeth and efficiently cleans the area.

A lot of dentists in the United States are striving to spread awareness about the use of an interdental brush to maintain good oral health.

In this article, we will read about the interdental brush and their benefits over dental floss.

What is an interdental brush?

An interdental brush is a thin, round or cone-shaped brush that contains bristles which can easily reach the spaces between the teeth. The length of the handle may vary in shape and size to allow a firm grip while brushing. (1)

While choosing an interdental brush, make sure to select a size that is suitable for you. Often people buy two interdental brush of different sizes to fit the interdental spaces of the front and back teeth respectively.

Interdental Brush

Unlike dental floss, an interdental brush can be used multiple times. Rinse the brush after use just like you wash your regular toothbrush. The brush can be replaced once the bristles start to worn out.

Who can benefit from using an interdental brush?

Anyone can use an interdental brush. However, people who specifically find flossing difficult can benefit more from an interdental brush.

Some of the individual cases may include –

People who find flossing difficult

Often people hate to floss merely because they find it difficult or have to put in a lot of effort. In such cases, an interdental brush can come handy in easily reaching the interdental spaces and cleaning the teeth thoroughly in no time. (2)

Spaces between teeth

Large gaps between teeth may not allow proper cleaning with the help of dental floss. Uneven teeth or receding gums are another set of cases where dental floss will not be effective in cleaning the spaces.

An interdental brush is designed in such a way, that they fit comfortably in the gaps between the teeth and clean the area effortlessly. Different sizes of the interdental brush can help to cover the entire space in one go.

People with braces

Flossing is usually not an option for people with braces. However, a thin interdental brush can quickly enter the space between the teeth and remove the plaque and food debris that may get stuck between the teeth and around the braces.

People with limited manual dexterity

People who are suffering from joint problems or have limited manual dexterity cannot follow the technical method of flossing. An interdental brush is a good option for such individuals including older adults who find it hard to floss regularly.

An interdental brush is an excellent means to clean spaces between the dentures, bridges, implants, and gums.

What are the advantages of interdental brush over dental floss?

The United States federal government in the year 2016 removed the recommendation of daily floss due to lack of scientific evidence to prove its efficiency.

An interdental brush has a lot of advantages over dental floss. Some of the benefits include –

  • The abundance of shape and sizes allow the individual to select the best interdental brush that will fit comfortably between the teeth and clean the spaces effortlessly in one go.
  • The interdental brush has shown to improve plaque control and reduce the prevalence of gum diseases in people who use it regularly (3)
  • An interdental brush is reusable unlike dental floss
  • It is easy to handle and brush with an interdental brush
  • The handle comes in a variety of lengths and shape to increase the grip while brushing
  • The tips of an interdental brush can bend to reach the problematic areas in the mouth efficiently
  • Interdental brush are excellent means of oral hygiene tools for patients with braces

How should the interdental brush be used?

The interdental brush can be used either before or after brushing as per convenience. The critical step is to choose the right size of brush that will easily fit into your interdental spaces. People with wider gaps may require an interdental brush with longer bristles. (4)

Follow the instructions below to use the interdental brush correctly –

  • Start by brushing your front teeth. Front teeth are more accessible. Slowly move towards the back teeth covering every interdental space.
  • Gently insert the brush between the teeth. Too much pressure or force can cause gum irritation.
  • Once you insert the brush, move it in a back and forth motion for a few times along its entire length.
  • Once you finish cleaning all the spaces, rinse the brush with water.
  • Replace the brush when the bristles are worn out.

Take away message

Dental plaque is the worst enemy of the oral cavity. It should be removed regularly especially from the areas that cannot be reached by a regular toothbrush.

Not cleaning the areas in between the teeth can cause an increased incidence of dental caries, gum disease, and tooth loss.

While dental floss is often the standard means of interdental aid used by people, it can get difficult to follow its use regularly. (5)


An efficient and more comfortable way of cleaning the interdental spaces in the mouth is by using an interdental brush.

Interdental brush significantly reduces plaque and improves the health of the gums and teeth. It comes in different sizes that may be a fit for every person.

So what are you waiting for? Switch to interdental brush and easily maintain your oral health.


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