Regular brushing and flossing not only keep your teeth shiny white, but also help you achieve a healthy mouth in the fight against plaque. Some people prefer a manual toothbrush and string floss, while others might opt for alternative flossing devices. A proxy brush can serve as another tool in your oral care toolbox.
Importance of Interdental Cleaning
The American Dental Association notes that using an interdental cleaner, such as floss, is essential when it comes to caring for your teeth and gums. Cleaning between the teeth daily allows you to remove plaque from those hard-to-reach spots your toothbrush can't access. Plaque formation on the teeth and around the gumline may cause cavities and gum disease, so it's critical to establish a routine of interdental cleaning.
Using Proxy Brushes
Dental tape, dental picks and water flossers are a few alternatives to traditional string floss. Another alternative is a proxy brush, also called an interdental brush. The brush has a plastic handle and a small head of bristles held together by a wire. It is designed to fit between the teeth, and you can choose a brush size that works for your individual tooth spacing.
Using one isn't complicated. The National Health Service recommends using an interdental brush once daily. Gently insert the brush between your teeth. If it feels too tight, don't force it. Use a smaller brush instead. Go from tooth to tooth until you've thoroughly cleaned each space.
Proxy brushes are easy to find and available to purchase at pharmacies, grocery stores or online. Just like dental floss, they're quite portable. You can take them on the go if you need a quick tooth cleaning after a meal out.
Benefits of Proxy Brushes
A proxy brush can be a great alternative for people who, for one reason or another, find dental floss to be challenging. Those who have joint problems or limited mobility might have a difficult time holding floss, in which case an interdental brush could provide a solution. Individuals with dentures, bridges or implants might also prefer using a brush to clean around their dental devices.
People with fixed braces — both teens and adults — might find brushes ideal, as it can be difficult or impossible to use dental floss when braces are secured to teeth. Additionally, individuals who have gum recession or wide gaps between their teeth might prefer a brush, as floss might not properly fill and clean the space.
There is some evidence that a proxy brush is more effective than dental floss in cleaning between the teeth. A study published in Dental Health found that interdental brushes removed more plaque in the spaces between the teeth compared to traditional floss.
No matter what method you choose, don't forget your interdental spaces in your daily oral care routine. Consult your dentist or dental hygienist if you have any questions about proxy brushes or need help finding the right flossing device for you.