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How should I use my interdental brushes?

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Home  /  Wisdom Teeth - Dental News  /  How should I use my interdental brushes?

Interdental brushes are an excellent way of keeping plaque and gum disease at by, but it makes a big difference which way you use them. Find out here how to get the maximum return for your investment in time each day.

We get all sorts of queries here at MyDental – anything from advice on wisdom teeth symptoms or wisdom teeth removal down to the more day-to-day issue of how to use interdental brushes.


It’s generally accepted within the dental profession that most brands of interdental brushes will do a relatively similar job. But using them in the correct manner will make a major contribution to maintaining great dental health.

Your dentist or dental hygienist will be only too happy to recommend the correct size and type for your particular oral care needs. The key thing here is fit.

What you’re looking to achieve is a relatively tight fit, which means that as you push them in and out, they will create some friction on both sides of the tooth.

You don’t want to overdo it, however. If the fit is too tight, you will only cause bleeding on a regular basis. It’s okay to see some small spots of blood when you use the interdental brushes at first, but this should stop after a week – assuming you’re using the correct size.

When using the interdental brush, make sure that you insert it into the gap from the outside – in other words from the side of the tooth next to your cheek. It should fit nice and snugly but still be relatively easy to manipulate in and out.

It’s also important that you rinse the brush under running water after treating each gap. Otherwise, you’re just moving plaque from one gap to another, and will be completely wasting your time.

After you’ve gone through all the gaps from the outside, it’s time to reverse the process. This time, insert the brush from the inside. It’s not nearly as easy as doing it from the outside, but it’s well worth persisting as this is an equally important part of keeping plaque at bay – particularly if it’s hiding out in those hard-to-find spots.

It’s not overly important as to whether you use your interdental brush before or after using your normal toothbrush. What’s much more important is the regularity of usage. The more often you use them, the more successful your battle against plaque will be.


Here are some tips for getting it right every time.


  • Make sure the brush fits perfectly before you start.


  • Have a set regime, e.g. start from the front and work to the right first, and the to the left. Once you have a regular system, it means that you’re less likely to forget one or more gaps.


  • Make sure you rinse the brush after every gap – to provide transferring the plaque form one gap to another.


  • You should still floss as well – it does a different job to the interdental brush.


  • It’s particularly important that you use the interdental brush last thing at night, so that there’s no food or plaque left to do their nasty work overnight.


  • It’s not absolutely essential to use them in the morning, but you get a lovely clean feeling for the day if you do.


  • Make sure that you change the brush as soon as it starts to look a bit jaded.


  • And remember that you should never have to push a brush too firmly. If that’s the case, you need a slightly smaller brush.

The bottom line is that asking for advice from your dentist on wisdom teeth symptoms or wisdom teeth removal is all well and good – but don’t forget to heed his advice on the everyday care of your teeth – like using an interdental brush!