Cleaning in between teeth

Although some have questioned the benefits of cleaning between your teeth, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends cleaning between your teeth, using an interdental cleaner (like floss), once a day. It can help prevent cavities and gum disease.

Cleaning between your teeth helps remove a sticky film called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feeds on leftover food or sugar in your mouth. When that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities.

Plaque that is not removed by brushing and cleaning between your teeth can eventually harden into a rough substance called tartar (or calculus). Tartar collects along your gum line and can lead to gum disease. Once tartar forms, only your dentist can remove it.

According to MouthHealthy.org, the ADA’s consumer website, the most important thing about flossing is to just do it. As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter when you floss. Pick a time of day when you can devote an extra couple of minutes to your dental care. People who are too tired at the end of the day may benefit from cleaning between their teeth first thing in the morning or after lunch. Others might like to go to bed with a clean mouth.

In addition, talk to your dentist and try different options until you find the one that works best for you. For example, dental picks might help you get to hard-to-reach places. Water flossers might be a good option if you have trouble flossing by hand or have dental work that makes flossing difficult, like braces or permanent or fixed bridges. Stick with it and you’ll have adopted a health habit for life.

Here are some photos of different tools to clean in between those pearly whites.

The Waterpik System is a water flosser that ejects a stream of water at high pressure to clean in between the teeth.
Interdental brushes of different sizes to clean spaces in between teeth. The smaller brushes are helpful for people wearing braces. Meanwhile, people who suffer from gum recession with larger gaps in between teeth may find the bigger brushes more efficient in removing food and plaque.
Contra-angled head interdental brushes facilitate the cleaning of posterior teeth easier.

Nothing beats a thorough brush and floss for a fresh, clean mouth and confident smile. Don’t miss out just because you’re a busy bee. You can clear away that scrap of spinach stuck between your teeth with a whole range of tools to clean in between your teeth.

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