How to keep your teeth healthy: cleaning between them

It is essential that you brush your teeth twice a day in order to maintain a healthy mouth. One simple addition can really transform how healthy your mouth is – and that is interdental cleaning, which in addition to toothbrushing twice per day with fluoride toothpaste can also help fight cavities.

Despite the fact that brushing is the most effective method of keeping your teeth clean, it only covers 60% of the surfaces of the teeth.  One of the simplest and most crucial things you can do to improve the health of your smile is to clean the gaps between your teeth with an interdental brush.

For National Smile Month, the Oral Health Foundation has teamed up with TePe to offer you the best advice about this simple oral health addition.


What are the benefits of interdental cleaning?

A toothbrush cannot clean between the teeth, where dental plaque can accumulate.

Bad breath can result from this, as well as tooth decay and gum inflammation over time. Regularly brushing your teeth with an interdental brush can prevent this from happening.

In contrast to ordinary toothbrushes, interdental brushes are small brushes designed specifically for cleaning between your teeth.  Regular tooth brushing and using an interdental brush daily are the easiest and most effective ways to maintain healthy gums and teeth.

To maintain a healthy mouth, you should clean your teeth between them every day.

Initially, your gums may bleed and feel sore when you start cleaning between your teeth but do not stop as bleeding gums can indicate gum inflammation.  During the first few days, it is important to contact your dentist if you do not notice an improvement.


Calculating the right size

A variety of interdental brushes are available, and choosing one that fits your mouth well can be challenging.

It is recommended that you seek the advice of a dental professional for the best advice. To get you started in the meantime, here are a few tips that should help you along the way.

  • You should look in a mirror and insert the brush between your teeth, near the gum line so as to brush the gum line as well. As soon as the brush bristles touch the tooth surface and the gum tissue, start applying the smallest size possible and work your way up to the high size.
  • It is important that the brush has a snug fit on the teeth, but the wires, despite being coated in plastic, should not touch any surfaces such as the tooth surfaces or the gums. The brush should never be forced into a space if it is not able to fit.
  • After the interdental brush has been inserted in the mouth, it should be moved back and forth about 2-3 times over its full length. Every day, make sure you clean all the spaces between your teeth, as this will prevent the bacteria from growing.
  • Depending on the spacing between the teeth, you may need to use two or three different sizes of toothbrushes, or you may want to combine two or three brushes and floss – depending on how the spacing between the teeth varies from mouth to mouth.


Interdental brushes: what they are and how they are used

You need to follow the right technique to get the most benefit from interdental cleaning.  The good news is that you do not require any technical knowledge in order to establish and use interdental brushes.  This is one of those healthy habits that you can follow for the rest of your life once you have mastered it.

1. Interdental brushes should be used between the front teeth

The toothbrush should be inserted gently between the teeth. In order to prevent the brush from slipping into a space, lightly put the brush into the space or pick a smaller brush.

Repeat the movement of the interdental brush a few times up and down the length.

2. Interdental brushing the back teeth with a small brush

It is possible to gently bend the soft neck of the interdental brush (TePe’s pink, orange, red or blue brushes) if you are using a small brush to brush between the teeth. The pressure you apply with your finger will make it easier for you to reach between the back teeth. You can also try an interdental brush with a long handle, such as the TePe Angle if you prefer.

3. When brushing the back teeth with a larger interdental brush

Whenever you use larger brushes of interdental brushes, you might find it easier to brush between the back teeth if you curve the wire a little bit to facilitate access. By not straightening or bending the interdental brush at another angle, you will be able to ensure that it lasts longer.


Don’t let National Smile Month pass you by without taking care of your teeth

A significant part of National Smile Month is about taking the time to learn about ways in which we can protect our oral health throughout the year. Our life can be changed for the better if we are aware of how we can develop and maintain good oral health, and by doing so we can make positive changes in our lives.

If you like this infographic and want to share it on social media, please download and share it. You will learn the most effective and convenient way of cleaning your teeth by brushing between them – it is a great introduction to interdental cleaning.

For more information about interdental cleaning, visit

Get In Touch

The Smile Shapers

Call Us: (805) 658-1588

Visit Us: 3959 Telegraph Road
Ventura, CA 93003

Office Hours

Monday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00pm

  • Please use this form for general information purposes only. DO NOT send personal health information through this form. Specific patient care must be addressed during your appointment.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Call Us Text Us