Flossing vs. Interdental Brushes – Which is Better?

Your dental hygiene routine is important for keeping your teeth and gums healthy and keeping your smile bright. Cleaning between your teeth helps to remove plaque and bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease. The two common ways to clean in between your teeth are flossing and using interdental brushes. Is one better than the other for your oral health routine? We’ll explore the pros and cons of each type to help you decide for yourself.


Flossing is a way to clean between your teeth using a string of floss. You can buy floss in a variety of flavors and thicknesses.

To floss, you wrap the floss around your middle fingers. Use your thumbs and index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it up and down against the side of the tooth.

You can also buy floss sticks, or disposable plastic pieces with tight floss strung in a gap for more convenient, residue-free flossing that some people prefer over traditional floss.

Advantages of Flossing

1. Flossing is Easy

Flossing does not require special skills or equipment. All you need is a piece of floss or a floss stick.

2. Flossing is Cheap

Floss is one of the least expensive dental hygiene products on the market.

3. Flossing can reach tight spaces

Dental floss is thin and flexible and can reach places other cleaning tools cannot. This makes it especially effective at removing plaque from between your teeth.

Disadvantages of Flossing

1. Flossing Can be Time-Consuming

It can take several minutes to floss properly and may require multiple lengths of floss depending on your technique and whether it breaks during use.

2. Flossing can Cause Bleeding

Flossing too hard or too often can irritate your gums and cause them to bleed. According to Dr. Nathan Fennell, you should use a back-and-forth technique to slide the floss down between each tooth as opposed to pressing down hard. This helps to avoid putting too much pressure on your gums when flossing.

Interdental Brushes

An interdental brush is a small, pipecleaner-like tool that is used to clean between your teeth in a technique similar to flossing. The brush has a handle and a small, cylindrical head with bristles usually positioned in a circle. These nylon bristles come in different sizes depending on your teeth gaps and whether you need to clean around devices like braces.

To use an interdental brush, insert the brush into the space between your teeth. Gently move the brush back and forth to remove plaque. Repeat this process for all the gaps of your teeth.

Advantages of Interdental Brushes

1. Interdental Brushes are Easy to Use

The brushes can be used easily to clean in between your teeth without special skills.

2. Interdental Brushes are Effective

Interdental brushes are available in different sizes to fit the unique spaces between your teeth. This helps to ensure that the brushes are effective at removing plaque for all teeth sizes and mouth shapes.

3. Minimal Injuries

There is a much lower risk of injuring your gums when using an interdental brush compared to flossing.

4. Can be Used For Braces

Interdental brushes are often recommended by orthodontists to effectively clean around braces and wires.

Disadvantages of Interdental Brushes

1. Expensive

Interdental brushes are typically much more expensive than floss on a per-use comparison.

2. Not as Widely Available

Interdental brushes are not as widely available as floss.

3. It Can be Difficult to Find the Right Size

Finding the right size interdental brush for your teeth can be difficult. You can always ask our dentists how to find the right size brush for you.

Dental Advice for Your Health Routine

There are pros and cons to both flossing and using interdental brushes. Ultimately, the best way to clean your teeth is to use the method that you are most comfortable with. The basis of our comprehensive dental care plans is expert examinations and cleanings coupled with expert advice on how to care for your teeth when you’re not in our office. Call our Norwood office or contact us online to learn more about how to best floss for a healthy smile.

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