There are several ways that you can clean between your teeth. You will never get right in between your teeth with brushing alone, even with an electric brush.
The most common way to clean between your teeth is with flossing. Flossing with dental tape can be very effective for removing plaque and trapped food from small spaces between your teeth. The tape should be used in an up and down action, pulled tight to the tooth on one side of the gap and then the other. The tape should be carefully taken just below the gum line on each side of the space you are cleaning.
Another method of cleaning between your teeth is with interdental brushes. These are much more effective when you have larger spaces between your teeth, for example, when the gums have shrunk back between the teeth. The key with this is to have the biggest brush that fits the gap. If the brush is rattling around in a space too big for it then it is not going to be effective at cleaning that space. When you insert the brush, you want to feel some resistance. These brushes are colour coded depending on size and you will have to use different colours in different areas of your mouth. If you need help, ask your dentist to advise you on the best colours for you.
The final method to get between your teeth is to use a water flosser. This is a bit of kit that looks like an electric brush but rather than having a head with bristles, it has a tip that squirts water. These are fairly new to the market and I believe the jury is still out over how effective they are. However, if you are struggling with the other two methods, it might be worth trying. It is certainly the easiest way to get between your teeth.
I can’t tell you what technique is best for you without seeing your teeth. For me, this is by far the trickiest part of my oral hygiene routine. If you haven’t done it before, it will take a while to work out what’s best for you. Ask your dentist if you need advice and they should point you in the right direction.
You need to be getting in between all of your teeth twice a day. As previously mentioned, the clean before you go to bed is the most important so you must use at least one of these methods then.
This is something that you should be doing around the same time as brushing. Whether you should do it before or after brushing, I have no idea. I don’t think it really matters. As long as you are doing it and you are doing it between every tooth, that’s going to protect your mouth.
If you would like to know more about the scientific evidence behind flossing, read our article.