What are the Benefits of Interdental Brushes for Braces?

by | May 11, 2023 | Dental Braces, General Orthodontics | 0 comments

7 min reading time

Have you just started wearing orthodontic braces and have difficulty brushing your teeth properly? You’re not alone. Patients wearing braces face a constant challenge when it comes to receiving adequate dental care, especially when it comes to reaching all the nooks and crannies between their teeth and braces. You may also have a hard time using dental floss to clean your teeth when wires and brackets stand in your way!

Fortunately, there is a tool at your disposal that combines the functionality of both toothbrushes and dental floss: interdental brushes!

What are Interdental Brushes?

An interdental brush, also known as an interproximal brush or an interdental cleaner, is a small dental tool specially designed to clean spaces between your teeth that aren’t reachable by regular toothbrushes. Food particles and plaque tend to accumulate in these spaces, causing gum disease and tooth decay.

Typically, dental cleaners have a small, narrow brush head attached to a handle. The bristles on the brush head are arranged in a cylindrical or conical pattern. Some models feature a flexible or bendable neck to make hard-to-reach areas more accessible. The handle can be straight or angled.

There are many sizes and types of interdental brushes available. Your oral health professional can help you decide which size and type best suit your needs. With an interdental brush, along with regular brushing and flossing, you can keep your teeth and gums free of plaque and bacteria!

Interdental brush

Is Interdental Brushing the Same As Flossing?

There are some differences between interdental brushing and flossing, although both are intended to clean the tight spaces between your teeth that a regular toothbrush cannot reach.

The interdental brush is gently moved back and forth to remove plaque and food particles. 

There are a variety of interdental brushes designed to fit different types of interdental spaces.

As opposed to brushing, flossing involves removing debris and food particles from between your teeth with a thin, waxed string. The floss is inserted into the interdental spaces and repeatedly moved up and down. However, flossing requires some level of dexterity and can be challenging to master.

Both interdental brushing and flossing are essential for optimal oral health. Consult your dentist or dental hygienist to determine which method is best for you based on your needs.

4 Reasons Why You Should Use an Interdental Brush With Braces!

The use of interdental brushes in conjunction with regular tooth brushing will provide several benefits to patients with braces, including:

  1. Effective plaque removal: With braces, food particles and plaque can accumulate in hard-to-reach areas, resulting in gum disease and tooth decay. Interdental brushes are designed to clean these difficult areas more effectively than a toothbrush alone.
  2. Improved gum health: By removing plaque and food particles that irritate and inflame the gums, interdental brushes can prevent gum disease.
  3. Healthier breath: Ensured by regularly brushing your teeth to remove food particles accumulated around braces. Regular use of interdental brushes will help keep your breath minty fresh!
  4. Reduced risk of oral health issues: Poor oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment can lead to cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues. Interdental brushes will keep your mouth healthy while preventing dental problems!

How to Use an Interdental Brush

You can maximize the effectiveness of your interdental brush by following these simple guidelines:

  1. Choose an interdental brush that fits the interdental space you intend to clean. When in doubt, seek advice from an oral health professional.
  2. When working the brush between your teeth, gently insert it into the interdental space and work it back and forth. Do not force the brush too hard, as it will damage your gums.
  3. Move the brush back and forth a few times to clean the interdental area. Avoid scrubbing too hard, and use a gentle, circular motion.
  4. Once you have cleaned all the spaces between your teeth, move the brush to the next interdental space and repeat the process.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with water to remove any remaining plaque and food debris from your mouth after interdental brushing.
  6. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the interdental brush with water and allow it to dry before storing it.

Your daily oral hygiene routine should include interdental brushing alongside regular tooth brushing and flossing. Consult your dentist if you have any questions or concerns.

Interdental brushes

How Long Does an Interdental Brush Last?

On average, an interdental brush can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how often it is used and how well it is cared for. However, to ensure optimal effectiveness and hygiene, you should replace your interdental brush regularly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Using a worn-out brush is less effective and may cause damage to your oral tissues. Replace your interdental brush when the bristles become worn, bent, frayed, or shapeless.

To extend the lifespan of your interdental brush, rinse it thoroughly after each use and store it in a dry, clean container. You should avoid using hot water, which can damage the bristles, and never share your interdental brush with anyone else.

How to Choose the Perfect Interdental Brush

When choosing an interdental brush, consider the following factors to ensure you effectively clean the spaces between your teeth without damaging them:

  1. Size: A toothbrush is available in different sizes to fit different interdental spaces, so be sure to choose one that fits snugly yet comfortably between your teeth without causing any discomfort.
  2. Shape: The shape of the interdental brush determines whether you can reach all the interdental spaces comfortably and easily. Choose from conical and cylindrical shapes to fit your interdental space.
  3. Bristle stiffness: Different levels of bristle stiffness are available for interdental brushes. Choose a brush with soft or medium bristles to avoid damaging your gums.
  4. Handle length: Various handle lengths are available for interdental brushes, some with longer handles making it easier to grip or reach hard-to-reach areas.
  5. Brand:  Make sure you choose a reputable interdental brush brand to ensure you use a high-quality product.
  6. Your dentist’s recommendation: Consult your dentist to determine the best interdental brush for you.

Why Do My Gums Bleed After Using Interdental Brushes?

In cases of bleeding when using an interdental brush, gingivitis or gum disease may be present. Designed to clean the areas between your teeth and along the gumline where plaque and bacteria accumulate, interdental brushes can help remove plaque and bacteria that regular brushing and flossing may not reach.

If your gum tissues are already inflamed or infected, using an interdental brush to clean them may result in bleeding. This bleeding is a sign of inflammation and irritation and should be evaluated by your dentist.

The use of a large or hard interdental brush can also cause bleeding. To prevent this, use a smaller or softer brush and apply light pressure when flossing between your teeth.

Whenever you experience bleeding gums, you should consult with your dentist immediately since swollen gums can indicate a more serious underlying condition.

Young girl using an interdental brush

Start Your Orthodontic Treatment at Loudoun Orthodontics!

Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if you think orthodontic treatment is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of our orthodontic services or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today to book a complimentary orthodontic consultation! Our office, located at 19465 Deerfield Ave, Suite 304, Leesburg, VA 20176, proudly serves not just Loudoun County but also the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Ashburn, Lansdowne, or Sterling, and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Virginia, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!



  1. Interdental Brushes: Kinds & Brands like Tepe, Gum & Oral-B – Dentaly.Org, www.dentaly.org/us/oral-hygiene/interdental-brushes/. Accessed 10 May 2023.
  2. “Is Flossing Hard? Interdental Brushes May Be the Answer.” Colgate®, www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/selecting-dental-products/is-flossing-hard-interdental-brushes-may-be-the-answer#. Accessed 10 May 2023.
  3. Dulnuan, Lady. “What Interdental Brush Size Should You Use for Your Braces?” Pro, 1 July 2021, www.pro-sys.com/blog/interdental-brush-braces-guide-sizes-cleaning-care/. Accessed 10 May 2023.