Man uses an interdental brush to clean places where his toothbrush cannot reach

While teeth-brushing has been a staple in dental hygiene for millenia, interdental cleaning is an equally important, but often neglected, part of oral healthcare. The little-known interdental brush is an inexpensive and accessible breakthrough for the general public, which not only helps get rid of food pieces and plaque build-up between teeth, but also aids in the prevention of gingivitis, tooth decay and bad breath.

At Smile Shop, our mission is to make premium home dental care products accessible to the public at the click of a button (including a wide range of interdental brushes).

Let’s unpack the purpose, benefits and tips for efficient use of these teeth cleaning silver bullets (with bristles around the edges):

What is an interdental brush?

Interdental brushes are thin, round or cone-shaped devices used to clean the spaces between teeth where food and plaque begin to accumulate and regular toothbrushes cannot access. Their small-bristled heads are supplied in a range of sizes to suit differently-sized gaps between teeth. 

While toothbrushes clean roughly 60% of the tooth surface including the buccal, lingual and occlusal sides, interdental brushes (when combined with regular toothbrushes) help clean 95% of teeth where food becomes lodged. 

Woman cleans between her teeth using an interdental brush

How do interdental brushes function differently to dental floss?

While floss can be used to clean around teeth on the mesial and distal sides, reaching below the gumline to the sulcus, interdental brushes massage gums, stimulating blood flow, reaching to areas where floss would be insufficient.

Dental Floss helps dislodge plaque and prevent the development of periodontal pockets ​​(spaces where the gum pulls away from the tooth due the combination of inflammation and gum disease), particularly where there are tight spaces between teeth. Interdental brushes are helpful in spaces where there are wide gaps between teeth, where floss cannot effectively remove debris.

Some patients report that interdental brushes are more comfortable than floss. They are also easier to operate by children or persons with limited mobility.

Flossing is generally more effective at cleaning front teeth, while interdental brushes are better at cleaning between molars, where flossing becomes more tricky. 

Woman flosses between her front teeth

What are the benefits of interdental brushes?

  1. Helpful for people with retainers, braces, implants, dentures or dental bridges, where floss can get lodged between the brackets and the archwire
  2. Prevent the build-up of plaque around fillings and cavities
  3. Reduce irritation and inflammation to interdental gums
  4. Can diminish gum bleeding when accompanied by a healthy overall oral hygiene regimen
  5. Easier and more comfortable than flossing.

Tips for best use of interdental brushes

  1. Select the correct sized brush to easily fit the gaps between teeth. Your best bet is to purchase a pack of 4-8 differently sized brushes for different areas in the mouth. 
  2. Maintain a comfortable hold on the brush between your thumb and forefinger (like a pencil) for easy brushing
  3. Brush gently between teeth about 2-3 times. If the brush gets stuck, rather switch to a smaller one
  4. Use at least once per day as part of your routine before you begin regular brushing using a soft-bristle toothbrush or electric toothbrush 
  5. Rinse the interdental brushes between uses and store in a dry place. Replace brushes if wires bend or become worn or frayed.

Where can I purchase an interdental brush?

Choose from a wide selection of affordable premium interdental brushes at the click of a button through Smile Shop.

Each product is tested, hand-selected and personally recommended by a dentist, giving you assurance that you are doing the best for your teeth.

Access the best in oral healthcare without leaving home at Smile Shop today (with nationwide free delivery on orders over R750)
Interdental brush