Interdental Cleaning Devices

Interdental cleaning.Almost everyone understands the importance of regular brushing and flossing to their oral health. You've heard it many times before, at office visits and checkups: Proper oral hygiene is your first line of defense against tooth decay and gum disease. Yet, while most of us brush regularly, many people don't floss as often as they should… or at all!

Why not? Sometimes, it's because we don't have the manual dexterity to handle the floss, or because braces or partial dentures get in the way; or, perhaps we just never got in the habit. Yet proper cleaning of the interdental areas (the small spaces between teeth) is crucial — and here's why:

Consistent brushing with fluoride toothpaste has been proven effective at removing dental plaque from the tooth's surfaces and making them more resistant to decay. But regular toothbrushes simply can't get into the small gaps between teeth, or the tiny crevices where teeth meet gums. Unfortunately for our oral health, that's exactly where tooth decay and gum disease starts — and that's where the tools called “interdental cleaners” can help.

There are several different types of interdental cleaners available, including special brushes and irrigation devices (commonly called “water picks”). None of them, by themselves, are a substitute for brushing and flossing. However, as part of a regular program of oral hygiene, they can be effective at fighting plaque and reducing the incidence of tooth decay and gum disease.

The Interdental Brush

Interdental brush.This specially designed toothbrush (sometimes called an interproximal brush or proxabrush) can be successfully utilized to clean the small gaps between teeth, as well as the gums and the areas around braces, wires, or other dental appliances. Because it has a handle not unlike a standard toothbrush, many people with limited dexterity find it easy to use. Plus, numerous clinical studies have demonstrated its effectiveness at reducing plaque and controlling gingivitis (gum inflammation).

The cleaning surface of an interdental brush is similar in shape to a small, conical pipe cleaner. Its short bristles radiate from a thin central wire, which is small enough to pass through a very tight space. The brushes are available with both coated and uncoated wire, and come in different widths to accommodate an individual's particular dental anatomy. When needed, they can also be used to apply antibacterial or desensitizing agents to certain areas of the teeth or gums.

Oral Irrigation Devices

Available to consumers for over 50 years, these devices (sometimes known as water jets or water picks) can also play a role in interdental hygiene. While their popularity has gone up and down over the decades, many studies have shown that they provide a safe and effective method of diluting the acids produced by plaque. Irrigation devices typically use pulsed or steady jets of pressurized water to remove food particles from the hard-to-clean interdental spaces, as well as in some subgingival (below the gum line) pockets.

Proper brushing and flossing is still generally considered the gold standard of at-home oral hygiene. But if you have trouble flossing regularly — or if you're at increased risk for developing dental or periodontal disease — then using these interdental cleaners might be right for you.

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What Our Clients Say About Us

    Very friendly and Helpful

    I recently moved here from Green Bay where I had the same dentist for many years. He set the standard high for tooth care. We searched around this area and talked to patients from several dental offices to see what they had to say. The comments about Dr. Jamie at Two Rivers Family Dental were very good so we decided to give them a try. I came in with necessary dental work needing to be done and the normal amount of anxiety with it. I am happy to say we, "nailed it" with our choice. Dr. Jamie and her assistant Laurie could not be more thorough, personal and educational as she proceeds which helps me relax (somewhat-along with a little laughing gas)! The office from the minute you walk in till you leave is very friendly and helpful if I have any questions. She met the standard we were used to and I recommend her to everyone!!

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    I had an emergency for my tooth today. Two Rivers Family Dental got me in right away and the staff was fantastic!! Made me feel very comfortable! Thank you Dr. Hansen.

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    My teeth were in terrible shape and plus I did have one broken off ….I did not want to smile at all ….after Dr. Hansen finished fixing my teeth I can smile again... thank You Dr. Hansen and all your staff for helping me smile again.

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    Great dental hygienist in Tracy and fine dental work done by Dr. Hansen. Julie knows insurance better than anyone!

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    I had recently got a check up and I needed a filing. They were kind and displayed the up most respectful manner in making my dental experience a positive one. I will continue to be a patient of The Two Rivers Family Dental.

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