What is an interdental cleaner?

More than 500 bacterial species can be found in plaque. Some of them are good but most of them are bad for your mouth. Food debris, water, and these bacteria will combine and contribute to greater disease in oral health. Interdental cleaners (for example small brushes, plastic picks and dental floss) are used to remove food or plaque that build up in small spaces between teeth. It is an important first step before toothbrushing with the toothpaste of your choice since this process of using an interdental cleaner removes the film of bacteria before its completion to the plaque. If the plaque is not removed and hardened into tartar, this hard mineral deposit can only be removed by dental professionals.

Tooth decay and gum disease can develop due to plaque build up along the side and gum line of the teeth. Use of an interdental cleaner between sides of the teeth has been shown to decrease plaque build up which is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.  National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NICDCR), CDC’s Division of Oral Health have additional information and resources in details about the importance of continuous dental hygiene through flossing and brushing.1

More importantly, interdental cleaners can reduce interproximal bleeding (bleeding due to inflammation or swelling in gums), according to research from University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. The study group who had gingival inflammation was separately assigned with groups that were only treated with toothbrush and groups that were treated with the combination of brushing and flossing. The toothbrush only group achieved 35% reduction in bleeding sites whereas flossing group had 67% reduction, which shows higher reduction in inflammation of the gum.2

To maintain good oral hygiene, The American Dental Association recommends brushing two minutes daily while cleaning between teeth once a day with interdental cleaner and regular visits to dental professionals.



1.     Federal Government, ADA Emphasize Importance of Flossing and Interdental Cleaners. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 July 2017.

2.     “Comparative Effectiveness of Flossing and Brushing in Reducing Interproximal Bleeding*.”Comparative Effectiveness of Flossing and Brushing in Reducing Interproximal Bleeding | Journal of Periodontology 60(5). N.p., n.d. Web. 13 July 2017.