Brushing your teeth is important, obviously. But getting your teeth really clean is about more than just brushing twice a day, up and down and back and forth, for a couple of minutes. The teeth have a great many surfaces, and little pieces of food and drink can get stuck to every one of these surfaces, and can cause problems with your teeth. It’s not just cavities; improper brushing can contribute to bad breath, gum disease and eventual tooth loss.
But don’t panic! These things can all be kept at bay – read on for tips on how to clean between your teeth. Cleaning in between your teeth is not something we automatically think of when we are brushing our teeth, but actually it’s one of the best things you can do for the overall health of your teeth.
But how to clean between teeth?
Importance of cleaning between your teeth
Cleaning in between your teeth is of paramount importance. Cleaning just the surface, as we often do when we just brush them, is all well and good – but it does leave a lot of particulate in between the teeth, where bacteria can breed and cause big problems.
Cleaning in between your teeth regularly will make the world of difference to the health of your gums and teeth. If you don’t clean between your teeth, you risk leaving up to 25% of the tooth area dirty, and at risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
If you neglect proper cleaning of the areas in between your teeth, as well as the surfaces of them, you can end up with major problems. Bacteria in between the teeth can build up, turning into plaque, which then hardens into tartar, which is much harder to get rid of.
This tartar build up can cause no end of problems for your gums – the bacteria breeds, and damages the gums, which can lead to gingivitis, periodontitis, gum recession, and even (in very advanced cases), tooth loss.
As you can see, cleaning in between the teeth, although we may neglect it somewhat, is every bit as important as cleaning the surfaces of them
Dos and don’ts of cleaning in between your teeth
Cleaning in between your teeth can only be beneficial to your teeth, but it does come with a danger or two.
- The main problem is accidentally stabbing yourself in the gum with an interdental stick, which can be painful and can lead to infections and ulcers. Use a dental stick, or a floss, that fits neatly between your teeth without you having to force it.
- Always choose the right sized interdental cleaner for your teeth. Anything too small won’t clean effectively, and anything too large may damage your gums.
- Don’t clean between your teeth too aggressively. Scrubbing too vigorously at the spaces between your teeth can lead to damaging the gums, and you run the risk of getting the bits you are trying to remove lodged up in the gum line.
How to clean between teeth
First of all, choose the right cleaner. You may wish to use floss, of which there are many different types (the string type, the flat tape type, or the expanding floss type), or an interdental brush.
Once you’ve chosen the right method of cleaning between your teeth, make sure you use it at every brush. Although it may seem a bit of a faff, brushing in between your teeth every time is incredibly beneficial, so don’t skimp on it.
Make sure your interdental cleaner is the right size for in between your teeth, otherwise it will not be effective.
Also, try not to clean aggressively. Cleaning in between your teeth too hard can damage the gum, making the cleaning process less effective.
- To clean between your teeth well with floss, stretch a piece between your fingers and slide it in between your teeth. Rub it back and forth a few times then remove and move on to the next tooth with a clean piece of floss.
- To clean between your teeth with an interdental brush, first find the right sized brush. Gently insert it between your teeth, then move it back and forth a few times before removing it, rinsing it off and moving on to the next tooth.
Cleaning in between your teeth should be a vital part of your daily tooth cleaning routine. If you do not already do this, start doing it now!
Your teeth and gums will thank you for it in the years to come, and by doing it regularly you are helping to ensure that all your teeth stay firmly in your mouth (and doing it regularly means you will also avoid costly dentist bills!)