How to Clean Between Your Teeth
Keeping your teeth clean and healthy means more than just brushing them front and back. It means getting right in between the gaps, something that is much easier said than done. It is a tricky job and requires certain methods and brushes which allow you to keep both teeth and gums healthy. Cleaning between teeth also needs to done be in such a way so as to avoid damaging your oral health.
At oneHOWTO, we help you know how to clean between your teeth. We explain the best way to get in between the gaps with and without using dental floss.
Why cleaning between teeth is important
Daily cleaning of our teeth is essential to maintain dental health. It is not simply a healthy habit which can improve your life, it is an essential practice which will lead to serious health problems if neglected. Even brushing our teeth daily still results in accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth themselves, the gumline and, perhaps especially, in between the teeth. For this reason, comprehensive cleaning of the mouth is required, not superficial hygiene.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to prevent the appearance of periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. If these diseases are not curtailed or managed, it can lead to tooth loss and other serious problems. However, the cosmetic problems caused by poor oral health are not insubstantial. Good hygiene avoids staining from coffee, tobacco and food, as well as avoiding the bad breath smell which can accompany oral disease.
While we will need to consult our dentist about a dental hygiene routine which is best for us, there are some general guidelines to follow. We should brush our teeth between 2 to 3 times per day. We should use a toothbrush and toothpaste appropriate for our teeth.
Mouthwash is useful for many of us, although we should not use this as much. However, to clean between our teeth we will need an dental floss, an oral irrigator or an interdental brush. All three are products are designed in so they can get into the gaps between teeth, but they function in quite distinct ways.
How to floss between teeth
Although there have been many developments in dental hygiene, dental floss can be one of the most effective, as well as being more accessible. It is highly recommended by dentists for good dental hygiene. By getting in between teeth, it keeps teeth and gums healthy and avoids the appearance of cavities and periodontal diseases. Flossing helps to remove dental plaque from the spaces between teeth by using filaments combined in a cord. It can remove pieces of food regular brushing cannot, providing a deep cleaning action.
To use dental floss, you will need to follow these steps:
- Take a piece of dental floss about 40 cm (15") in length and wrap the ends around your index or middle fingers on each hand.
- Tauten the cord of floss and ‘hook’ it over an individual tooth.
- Pull the floss side to side with each hand.
- Be very careful with the gumline as causing too much friction can damage the mucus membranes.
- Move the floss up and down as well as side to side so you can help remove accumulations on the face of each tooth.
- As the floss becomes dirtier, move its position with your fingers and repeat.
Although many people do it the other way around, you should floss before you brush your teeth with a toothbrush. For a comprehensive dental cleaning, you should floss, brush and then use the oral irrigator. Although you should brush at least twice a day, you should floss only once. Many people like to do it before bed so they have no food in their mouth when they sleep, others prefer to do it after their main meal.
How to clean between your teeth with an oral irrigator
Many people may want to know how to clean between your teeth without floss. Cleaning your teeth with an oral irrigator can greatly improve the oral hygiene of many people. Frequent use will help ensure teeth and gums are healthier. Not as many people are aware of what is an oral irrigator, let alone how to use one.
An oral irrigator is a device which expels water in a jet (it is also known as a dental water jet). It has adjustable pressure settings which means it can be used for people with all levels of tooth sensitivity. The jet of water helps to remove bacterial plaque, soft tartar and particles of food. It is particularly useful because the water is able to reach places brushing cannot.
For example, with an oral irrigator you can reach just below the gumline and between teeth. This is where food debris and bacteria tends to collect. It is effective, but also a comfortable as the water is not tough against teeth and gums. It is particularly helpful for keeping gingivitis under control as well as reducing plaque accumulation, allowing you to maintain oral hygiene more efficiently.
Some people have orthodontic apparatus which can affect the gums or require complicated dental arrangements. These include braces and other devices which straighten teeth. The oral irrigator is great because it can get in between the joins of these devices and help remove food debris. Check out our article on how to brush your teeth wth braces for more information.
One of the most common oral irrigators is the Waterpik, the #1 brand recommended by dental professionals and the recipient of the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Oral irrigation is perhaps the most effective way to clean between your teeth and its benefits for gums is also impressive.
How to use an interdental brush between teeth
Another way to clean between your teeth without floss is with an interdental brush. This is the perfect tool for cleaning really-hard-to-remove debris from between your teeth. This is because the brush can get in between the teeth and use friction from a hard surface to act. It is very helpful for removing dirt and plaque which regular toothbrushes cannot.
This type of toothbrush comes in several sizes. You will need to consider which is best for you as everyone's mouth is different. Some people have larger or smaller gaps between their teeth, so they will need larger or smaller interdental brushes, accordingly.
The bristles of interdental brushes will come in contact with the teeth from the side. They can rotate to fully access the gaps in teeth. They are very easy to use and can be bought in different sizes, as well as attachments for electric toothbrushes.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Clean Between Your Teeth, we recommend you visit our Family health category.