Interdental brush

What is an interdental brush?

An interdental brush is a small toothbrush that was specially developed to clean the spaces between the teeth. With their help, the surfaces and spaces between the teeth are to be cleaned, which a normal toothbrush cannot reach. These areas are particularly ideal for deposits of food residues and bacteria.

These areas cannot be reached with normal tooth brushing. More plaque forms, which can lead to tartar, tooth decay or inflammation of the gums.

These protected spaces between every two teeth are called the interdental space. An interdental brush is a supplement to daily oral hygiene. The two typical shapes are on the one hand the cylindrical shape of a bottle brush and on the other hand the (conical) Shape of a fir tree.

Read more about this under: Proper dental care

Who will benefit from an interdental brush?

In general, your own oral hygiene benefits greatly from the use of interdental brushes. Daily additional cleaning of the interdental spaces can prevent plaque, tooth decay, inflammation in the mouth or even bad breath. As a result, expensive dental treatments for restorations can be prevented.

Basically, almost everyone can benefit from using interdental brushes. Even in areas where the floss cannot get through between the teeth, the teeth close to the gums are usually not so close together. The interdental brush can be easily guided through here. It should fit through the interdental space with moderate pressure, but also with noticeable resistance.

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Which manufacturers are there?

As with many dental products, there are also different manufacturers of interdental brushes. Are among the market leaders Curaprox and Tepe.

However, every drugstore also has its own, cheaper brand on offer. There are also many different suppliers of interdental brushes, including Elmex or Oral B.

Curaprox, on the other hand, is only available in pharmacies, while Tepe can be found in every drugstore. In general, everyone has to find out individually which brushes are best for you.

Which manufacturer does recommend?

It is generally very difficult to recommend a manufacturer as the best. The choice of interdental brushes is individual and depends on the patient's preference and handling.

Generally used by the clinics as well as by many dentists Curaprox Interdental brushes with a long handle are recommended. This makes it easier for many patients to use the brushes.

However, many patients also like to use the interdental breasts from Tepe. These are available in every drugstore, are cheaper than Curaprox and have a short, handy shaft.

The recommendation for the brushes depends on the motoric dexterity as well as the preference of each.

Interdental brush costs

The cost of interdental brushes can vary greatly depending on the provider. In the drugstores the prices for the in-house brands are around 2-3 euros per 10 items. One reaches for the Tepe Brushes, the price range is around 5 euros for a bag of around 10 pieces.

The most expensive are those available in pharmacies Curaprox Interdental brushes. Here the price is around 5 - 6 euros for 6 pieces.

Furthermore, the prices of the various interdental brushes can also depend on the shape and design of the brushes.

How long and how often should I use an interdental brush?

The time at which the interdental brush is used is generally irrelevant. You should then clean your teeth with an interdental brush if you have enough time and motivation. This can be in the morning, at noon or in the evening. In general, however, it is advisable to use it regularly.

You should move the interdental brush back and forth several times in the interdental space in order to achieve an optimal cleaning effect. While the application is running, the brushes should always be rinsed with clear water to wash off deposits and possibly food residues from the brushes. With regular daily use, the brushes should be changed after a maximum of approx. 14 days.

When you first start using interdental brushes, it may be easy to pain or even bleed. However, there is nothing to worry about here. Furthermore, the brush may initially smell unpleasant if it has never passed cleaned areas. In this context, the smell test can also be a good way of promoting your own motivation for the patient.

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What do the colors mean?

The different colors describe a different wire diameter. In this case, the thicker the wire, the longer the bristles of the interdental brushes become. Many manufacturers are now adapting to specified ISO sizes in the production of the brushes.

The ISO size 0 means, for example, that the wire has a diameter of 0.4mm. The ISO size 0 is the smallest available size interdental brush on the market. With Curaprox, for example, the smallest size corresponds to a wire diameter of 0.6mm.

In general, every manufacturer has its own color coding that represents the different diameters of the wire.

How do I find the right color for me?

It is extremely important to find the right size interdental brush for each individual. In general, it is almost always the case that you need more than one size, i.e. color, of the interdental brushes. On average there are two sizes that every person needs, since the teeth are not always at the same distance from one another. The brush should be able to be inserted with moderate pressure and should offer some resistance when passing through the interdental space.

It is very important that the wire that is in the center of the brush does not rub against the teeth. This could damage the tooth enamel. It is best to seek advice from your dentist regarding brushes. The interdental brushes are also often adjusted as part of a professional tooth cleaning.

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How is the correct application?

The correct use of the interdental brushes is very important. Above all, you have to take the time to clean the gaps thoroughly and carefully so as not to injure yourself.

The interdental brush is inserted perpendicular to the interdental space with moderate pressure and resistance. The application must not be very painful. This would be an indication of the need for a smaller size. However, a slightly uncomfortable feeling is completely normal at the beginning. Bleeding gums are also no indication that the application should be stopped. On the contrary, it is a sign of inflammation of the gums, which can be prevented in the future by using interdental brushes.

The brush should be moved back and forth between the teeth about 3 - 4 times. The brush should be rinsed with clean water after every gap. In this way, the deposits that have just been removed can be washed out of the brush and are not subsequently carried into the next interdental space. Furthermore, immersion in a disinfecting solution, e.g. Chlorhexidine.

It is very important that the brushes are used without toothpaste. In every toothpaste there are abrasives which, if used continuously, can have an abrasive effect on the tooth enamel.

What are conical interdental brushes - who are they good for, what are their advantages?

In addition to the typical cylindrical interdental brushes, there are also the conical brushes in the shape of a fir tree. These conical interdental brushes are particularly suitable for large spaces between teeth. Furthermore, they are particularly suitable for braces or braces wearers for cleaning the brackets. In addition, they are also beneficial for cleaning the interdental spaces in the molar area.

The shape of the brush tip gives the brush a narrower diameter. So the bristles are shorter at the tip of the brush. This makes it easier to insert the conical interdental brush into the gaps. For this reason, it is also very suitable for areas that are difficult to access.

Thanks to their conical shape, in which the bristles are constantly longer towards the end, an optimal cleaning result is achieved. However, it is very important to run the brush through the space between the teeth each time.

Otherwise, the plaque cannot be removed sufficiently, as the narrow tip of the brush does not usually touch the teeth at all.

Are there also electric interdental brushes?

In addition to the typical small, manually used interdental brushes, there are also products on the market that are advertised as electric interdental brushes. There are no purely electric interdental brushes.

The manufacturers of electric toothbrushes often advertise the ability of these to also clean the spaces between the teeth. However, an electric toothbrush cannot completely replace the function of an interdental brush. In some cases, there are also interdental attachments that can be used to flush them. However, these have the disadvantage that they cannot achieve the effectiveness of a manual interdental brush.

An electric interdental brush generally has no advantages over manual brushes, as the latter are only passed through the interdental space 2 - 3 times. Furthermore, the manual brushes can be adjusted as required and adapted to the space between the teeth.

In summary, one can say that the products advertised as electric interdental brushes have no advantages over manual brushes.

How long can I use an interdental brush?

An interdental brush should be changed every 14 days if used regularly. The interdental brush removes plaque or food particles from the places between the teeth that a normal toothbrush cannot reach. For hygienic reasons, it is therefore recommended to replace the interdental brush regularly. Since the spaces between the teeth can still be very narrow, the bristles bend with prolonged use and the bust loses its effect of extensive cleaning. Furthermore, the wire in the middle of the brush tends to break with prolonged use.

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What should be considered with implants?

As with natural teeth, cleaning the implants is very important. As with a natural tooth, bacterial plaque or tartar can form on a dental implant, which can lead to gum disease or inflammation on the implant.

For implant care, brushes with a plastic coated wire are recommended so as not to damage the material in the implant. However, it is important to ensure that the size of the interdental brush used is correct and fits well. It shouldn't be too big or too small. The interdental brush for implants should also be changed approximately every 14 days.

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What do I need angled interdental brushes for?

Access to all interdental spaces in the mouth is often very difficult. The shorter the shaft / handle or the holder of the brush, the more difficult it can be to approach the gaps from all sides. Angled interdental brushes should help here. They are particularly suitable for removing the hard-to-reach spaces between the molars (Molars) to reach. The angled handle or holder makes it easier to get into the space from both the inside and outside.