interdental brushes
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All You Need to Know About Interdental Brushes While Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment

All You Need to Know About Interdental Brushes While Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment

When you are wearing braces, especially metal braces, it is easier for the food to get stuck on or between the teeth. Brushing your teeth with a traditional toothbrush may not effectively remove these trapped food particles. These pieces of food trapped in the mouth can quicken the formation of plaque, thus increasing the risk of tooth decay.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration emphasizes the importance of clean teeth when you are undergoing treatment for straight teeth. It explains that if your teeth are not kept clean, they can limit the effectiveness of orthodontic treatment, prompting you to wear braces for a longer period of time.

While undergoing orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will instruct you on proper brushing techniques you need to adopt to prevent cavities, gum disease, and dental stains. In addition to using a traditional toothbrush, your orthodontist may also recommend interdental brushes —a highly effective method for keeping your teeth clean while maintaining a healthy smile.

What is an interdental brush?

An interdental brush (IDB) is a small brush with wire bound bristles, specially designed to clean the spaces between the teeth, where a traditional brush cannot reach. It is usually recommended for patients with braces. Interdental brushes are also prescribed for patients suffering from arthritis, experiencing limited mobility. 

How to use an interdental brush?

Here are a few tips on using interdental brushes:

  • Make sure you use the right size of the brush to prevent damage to your gum tissues.
  • Don’t forcefully push the interdental brush between your teeth. The brush should gently fit between the teeth; if it doesn’t, it means you are not using the right size of the brush. 
  • If wearing braces, move the appliance up and down on either side of the brackets as you pass it along the orthodontic wire from one tooth to another. Ensure that you don’t miss any spaces between the teeth.
  • Your gum tissue may become tender or even bleed when you first use an interdental brush. It’s normal. As you continue using the brush, the gum tissue becomes tougher, and the tenderness and bleeding will reduce over time. 
  • Make sure you rinse the brush after each use.
  • Replace it when it starts to look worn. 

Benefits of interdental brushes

  • An interdental brush is easier to use than traditional dental floss. You just have to insert it between the teeth and move it back and forth. 
  • It’s an effective tool for orthodontic patients who have difficulty in cleaning the spaces between the teeth, brackets, and wires, where a regular brush or floss cannot reach.
  • Patients with arthritis find it difficult to use dental floss due to their joint problems. An interdental brush is flexible, making it easier to maneuver. 

Maintaining your interdental brush

  • Rinse your interdental brush after cleaning each tooth or gap to avoid transferring bacteria.
  • Just like your toothbrush, an interdental brush has to be cleaned thoroughly between uses. 
  • When the wire is bent, or the bristles appear worn, replace your interdental brush with a new one.

This information about interdental brushing is good enough to understand the importance of keeping your teeth clean during your orthodontic treatment. Also, for a great orthodontic experience, make sure you follow your orthodontist’s instructions. 

If you are not yet into interdental brushing but are considering adding it to your daily routine, speak to your orthodontist about choosing the right brush for you.

Author Bio

interdental brushes
Dr.Satish Pai Orthodontist, Putnam Orthodontics

Creating perfect smiles is what Dr. Satish Pai is committed to. An orthodontist by profession, he believes that a perfect smile is a powerful part of a person’s personality. When he is not working hard on perfecting his patients’ smiles at Putnam Orthodontics, he is busy writing engaging articles about everything related to healthy and perfect smiles. His other passions include golf, yoga, and surfing. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face.


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