It is hard to dispute the fact that the toothbrush is by far the most useful tool in the daily fight against tooth decay, but it is hardly the only one, and should be seen as one of the weapons in your arsenal. It doesn’t matter how high tech a toothbrush is, as teeth have around 5 surfaces in the mouth that are susceptible to decay, so some kind of method to clean tooth gaps will be necessary. A toothbrush can clean only two of these five surfaces, and another two-the gaps between teeth- are so narrow that a toothbrush cannot effectively clean them at all. Which method of cleaning the tooth gaps you choose is entirely up to you, and depends also on how close the teeth are to each other, and how narrow the gap actually is: for bigger ones dental floss is the perfect solution, but an interdental toothbrush may become necessary to deal with cleaning out smaller gaps.
Dental floss is a very thin strand of silk like material, and it is made with the purpose of cleaning the tooth gaps and hard to reach places, removing plaque and the bacteria that live in it, thereby preventing gum disease and tooth decay. You can buy dental floss that comes in a variety of thicknesses, flavours and colours, and none of these are particularly important, the most important aspect in terms of how effective flossing is, is how often you floss, and that should ideally be at least once a day.
How to use dental floss
To properly use dental floss, first take a 20-30 centimetre piece of it, and twist round the thumb or index finger of your right and left hand. The taught bit of floss that is now facing you should be gently inserted into the gaps of a tooth, and using a steady forward and backward motion, taking extra care to not damage your gums. Also try and not push down too hard, as this will just push the plaque into your soft tissues, where bacteria can live, and where you cannot really clean the surfaces either. Repeat the motion in every single tooth gap you can, and please be aware that the back teeth will be more difficult to reach than the front ones.
This process may be quite wearisome and even tricky for some people to complete, but there is absolutely no need to worry, as this can quickly become part of your daily routine, and will become easy over time. If you do not think you will have success with learning a new trick like flossing your teeth, they make disposable plastic handlers that can be used to floss your teeth with, making it especially easy to floss, and we urge everyone to buy these if they think they will have a problem with using regular dental floss.
The interdental toothbrush
An interdental toothbrush looks more or less like a bottle brush, with the noticeable exception of being a lot smaller. The contraption consists of a small piece of wire that has bristles on it. The wire is a way to bring the head in between the teeth, into the tooth gaps and gently guide them there.
How to use an interdental toothbrush
You should gently place the toothbrush between the teeth, and use vertical in and out movements to clean the gap. Be gentle and not too fats while doing this, as otherwise you run the risk of damaging your gums. Just like with dental loss, you only need to use your interdental toothbrush once a day.
If you choose to use an interdental toothbrush instead of dental floss, make sure to get a new one every two or three months, and then go out and buy a new one. Just like regular toothbrushes, the interdental toothbrush also needs to be replaced form time to time, because bacteria start living on it.
Consequences of not cleaning your tooth gaps
Keeping your tooth gaps clean is just as important as keeping the visible portions of your teeth clean, especially because alveolitis and gingivitis or periodontitis is also caused by failure to clean the tooth gaps. Most tooth decay starts in the tooth gaps, as they are hidden and can fester for a considerable amount of time before becoming visibly decayed.
There are plenty of options, so do not be lazy and spend an extra minute or two on your tooth gaps, and not just on the obvious tooth surfaces as well. If yu are nto sure of which method is the best for your teeth, do not be afraid to ask your dentist, they should have some helpful tips for you.