How significant is Interdental cleaning ?
Do you wonder why do you have cavities or bleeding gums even when you brush your teeth regularly ? Well, maybe you are not aware of interdental areas or you are aware but not using right interdental aid to clean those areas. Interdental areas are those tiny areas between any two teeth. Interdental aids are devices used to clean those miniature spaces. This article will focus on importance of interdental cleaning and various device used to keep it clean.
Interdental space – How important is this ?
Interdental space or interproximal area is the spaces between the teeth. The spacing varies within one individual and also from person to person. Two teeth come into contact at certain points called as contact points. Beneath the contact points, there lies a space which is usually occupied by the part of gums called as interdental papilla. The area covered by interdental papilla also varies. Hence the area below the contact point is potential place for food debris to get stuck. Accumulation of food debris in such areas which are not readily cleansable can lead to retention of debris leading to formation dental plaque and calculus which can in turn lead gum diseases or even dental caries. The routine toothbrush may not be efficient reaching the these areas. Thus, proximal areas become the hotspot for microbes to grow and affect the oral health. It is shown that the efficacy of plaque removal following a brushing exercise averages around 42%. This calls for the regular use of interdental aids to clean and maintain the interproximal areas for better oral health.
There are various types of interdental aids available; dental floss, interdental brushes, rubber tips, wooden tooth picks, water jets or oral irrigators. Dental floss has received much attention through various advertisements unlike other interdental aids. Every one of this has its own advantages and disadvantages. Researchers have compared the efficiency of each of them and given the recommendations. Currently the best interproximal aid is interdental brush followed by oral irrigators.
- One of the earliest and most persistent “tools” used to “pick teeth.”
- They are fabricated from soft wood to improve adaptation into the interdental space and to prevent injury to the gingiva.
- A triangular wood stick seems to have the correct shape to fit the interproximal space. Wood sticks are inserted interdentally with the base of the triangle resting on the gingival side.
- When not used carefully can cause trauma to gums
- Floss is a cord which can be waxed or unwaxed, thick or of thin type.
- Floss has to be gently inserted below the contact point of teeth and plaque is removed by to and fro or up-down motion.
- It is useful in teeth with tight contacts and crowded areas
- As it is technique sensitive, patient compliance and acceptance is very less
- Also carries risk of hurting gums when not used carefully
Interdental brush (IDBs)
- It typically consists of a handle, a core wire, filaments/ bristles attached to core wire in varying diameters
- Currently they are available in wide range of sizes starting from 0.5mm
- Researches have shown that IDBs are very efficient in cleaning interproximal areas as it can reach better
- Patient acceptance is better than floss
- Proper size can be determined and used efficiently in atraumatic way
Waterjet/ Oral irrigators
- Designed to remove plaque and soft debris through the mechanical action of a jet stream of water
- Can also be used with antimicrobial agents
- Two zones of hydrokinetic activity are created—an impact zone where the solution contacts the gingival margin, and a flushing zone where the irrigant reaches subgingivally
- Studies have shown that it is ranked next to interproximal brushes in efficacy
How to choose right interdental aid ?
You need to visit your dentist and get the recommendation for interdental aid. It is efficient when appropriate aid of proper size is used with proper technique.
Interdental cleaning aids play a vital role in optimising gingival health and preventing oral disease. There is a plethora of devices available for use, the interproximal brushes have been shown to be more accepted practically in combination with tooth brushing compared to the others. The option of an appropriate interproximal cleaning aid is influenced by the ease of use, size of interproximal space, acceptability, dexterity, and motivation of the individual. So, meet your dentist and get the suitable aid for you.