Written by I love my Smile Oral Hygienist – Ina Alberts

Cleaning between

Interdental cleaning removes plaque and food from between teeth AND below the gum line where your toothbrush can’t reach.  We have a natural space below our gums.  In healthy gums this space is 1-3mm deep, in diseased gums it can be deeper due to swelling or bone loss.  Regular cleaning of this space and the interdental areas can prevent gum disease and tooth decay between teeth.  There are many was to do this.
Choose the easiest method for YOU and stick to doing it at least once a day.

Dental Floss

Dental floss is meant to clean between contacts and below the gum line.
Holding the floss too far apart and not guiding the floss correctly below the
gum line will result in plaque that gets left behind which can eventually form
tartar.  Pushing too hard on floss and not following the shape of gums can
result in floss cuts.  The right floss technique is therefore very important.


You’ll need about 30cm of floss at a time
Hold the floss about a centimeter apart between your index fingers and thumbs.
Insert the floss between teeth with a gentle back and forth sawing motion.
Form a C-shape around the tooth and guide floss below the gum line, whilst following the shape of your gum.
Use a clean piece of the string between each contact.
Dispose after a full mouth clean.

Easy flossers or floss forks

These are easy to use but one is limited as to how far around each tooth
and below the gum line one can clean with it.  It is ideal for small children.
Insert the flosser between teeth with a gentle back and forth sawing motion.
Try to guide the flosser gently to the left, up and to the right by following the
shape of the gum line.
Dispose after a full mouth clean.

Interdental brushes

Interdental brushes come in many sizes.  It is important that you use the
right size in order for it to clean effectively as it works similar to a bottle
brush.  The brush needs to fill the whole interdental area in order to clean it
effectively.  Your dental hygienist can measure your interdental areas and
prescribe the right size brushes.  Most of need to use at least two different
brush sizes as the size of the spaces between our teeth vary. 


Our gums form a triangle between teeth.
When inserting an interdental brush, insert it from the one side of the triangle and exit on the other side of the triangle. 
Rinse brush between uses and replace when bristles are worn.

Water flossers

If the above options are too messy or hard to do right.  A rechargeable
water flosser is an effective alternative and so much easier to use.


Lean over the sink and insert the tip into your mouth.
Turn on the device and close your lips to prevent water from splashing.
Direct the nozzle between teeth and move along the shape of the gum line
as you spray.  Spray from the outer surfaces of teeth and repeat from the
inside where possible.
Water will flow from your mouth into the sink.
Switch off and remove from your mouth once your done

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