Central Brisbane Dental is open and following COVID-19 safety standards.Central Brisbane Dental is open and following COVID-19 safety standards.
Dr. Vincent Wan
Do you suffer from gum recession and bone loss around your teeth? Are the spaces between your teeth too big to be effectively cleaned by floss?
If you have periodontal disease, bacteria destroy the gum and bone around the teeth. This destruction is irreversible as the lost gum and bone doesn’t grow back. This results in large spaces between the teeth.
These spaces between the teeth are harder to keep clean. Brushing, flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash just doesn’t always effectively clean such large spaces between the teeth.
At the supermarket oral hygiene section, you may have seen small brushes that look like mini Christmas trees on a handle. Some people describe them as looking like a small piece of pipe cleaner that is used for art and craft. These are interdental brushes – small brushes for cleaning between teeth. They come in a variety of sizes and handles to suit the size and position of the spaces in the mouth.
After brushing and flossing, interdental brushes can be used to further clean the spaces between teeth that brushing and flossing cannot clean well. They can be coated in toothpaste or mouthwash. You can dip an interdental brush in mouthwash before inserting into each space to not only physically brush the space, but chemically disinfect it as well.
Patients often ask whether inserting an interdental brush between the teeth can damage the gum. There is no need to worry if interdental brushes are used correctly in a gentle fashion, there is no major risk of gum damage. Interdental brushes often consist of a thin metal rod carrying soft bristles. The metal rod is usually coated in plastic so the metal rod cannot easily traumatize the gums.
Interdental brushes are meant to be reused till they don’t look so good and then replaced. Hence, they are often packaged into packs of several brushes. As long as this is followed, there is no major risk of them breaking between the teeth. Even if they do break, they usually can be easily removed with tweezers.