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Oral Care Product : Interdental Cleaning

Interdental cleaning refers to removal of dental plaque or food particles between teeth. Interdental cleaning is important because it perform the cleaning function in areas that cannot be reached and cleaned by toothbrush.

Types of Interdental Cleaning Device.

There are several main types of devices that can be used as follow:

  • Dental floss
  • Interdental brush
  • Tooth picks

Dental Floss

It is made of special strands either waxed or unwaxed. It can be used to clean dental plaque and food particles between teeth (see diagram 1).

Diagram 1 : Regular dental floss (left) and dental tape (right)

There are different types of dental floss available in the market as follow:

  • Regular dental floss
  • Made of special strands

  • Dental tape
  • Made of fine tape-shaped material to be used between teeth.

  • Super floss
    • Made of different textures of floss. One part with harder texture, one part with regular type of floss and the other part with spongy texture (see diagram 2).
    • It is used for individuals with crowns and bridges, those undergoing orthodontic treatment or for special cases as advised by the dentist.


Diagram 2: Super floss

Dental floss is also available with handle (see picture 3a) for example dental floss with disposable plastic handle (See picture 3b). It provides an alternative technique for individuals who have difficulty with regular flossing technique using fingers. (please refer to the flossing technique article).


Diagram 3a: Floss with reusable handle


Diagram 3b: Floss with disposable handle

Interdental Brush


Diagram 4: Interdental brush

Interdental brush is made of a small cone or cylinder shaped brush (Diagram 4). It comes in various sizes and is attached to the plastic handle. In some products, the brushes can be purchased separately and are replaceable. Choose suitable shape and size for youself or as adviced by the dentist.

Interdental brush can only be used if there is distance/spacing between teeth and/or gum. For example, teeth with spacing or teeth with gum recession due to gum disease.

It is also suitable for those undergoing orthodontic treatment and for crown and/or bridge cases.

Tooth Picks

It is made of disposable soft wood or disposable soft plastic for interdental cleaning. It is usually used after meal.

Tooth picks should only be used when there is spacing between teeth / due to gum recession (gum disease). It is not suitable for use in children.

Avoid using tooth picks for normal teeth (when there is no spacing between teeth) as it may cause gum injury. If this is done repeatedly over a long period of time, the gum might be pushed down from the normal gum level thus creating space between teeth.

Conclusion

  • Interdental cleaning is very important in ensuring cleaning between gum and teeth.
  • Choose the right interdental cleaning kit according to your needs or as advised by the dentist as it is crucial for optimal oral health. Please refer to your dentist for advice.
Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Mustaffa b. Jaafar
Reviewer : Dr. Faizah bt. Kamaruddin