3 Easy Alternatives to Cleaning the Gaps Between the Teeth
So here are some tips on some time-saving and easy to use devices that clean the gap and can hopefully save you thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars fixing up the lifetime of problems caused by the initial weakening of the tooth caused by the decay in the gap and the drilling necessary to get it out and stop it, plus the issues of periodontal disease.
1. Use a Flosspick to Get Into the Gaps
If you have seen these before and know what rubbish they are, hold on, that was then)- These Flosspicks have small threads of floss mounted on a plastic bow so you don’t have to wrap it around your fingers, you don’t need two hands, and you don’t have to get your fingers in your mouth …making it a lot easier. In the past, the problem with many of these devices was that the thread was too weak, it broke too easily, it frayed and often little bits of the floss would get jammed between your teeth, making the problem worse and much more uncomfortable than it was before you started, resulting in many people giving up in disgust. Those miserable little cheap Flosspicks you get on airlines were good examples of how not to do it.
However, better Flosspicks are now available from a number of manufacturers that have more durable shred resistant floss so these problems hardly ever occur. Some of the floss is multi-filament and slightly twisted so it is less likely to fray, and some floss is monofilament and made of Teflon like material. Not only doesn’t it fray (because it is only one strand), but it goes down into the gap really easily without you fearing it is going to break or injure your gum when it finally snaps through.
Floss of any kind is the optimal way to clean the front teeth as it can slip down the fine crevice between the gum and the tooth without causing a bluntening of the little pink spike of gum in between the teeth, like toothpicks and interdental brushes can. This bluntening doesn't cause any health problems – it is just a minor cosmetic concern. Interdental brushes probably have a slight health advantage when cleaning back teeth.
2. Use a Plastic Toothpick - to Get into those Teeth Grooves
The problem with wooden toothpicks is that the wood contains fairly abrasive particles and usage over long periods of time can actually wear a groove into the tooth if used frequently. So by using plastic toothpicks correctly, it will not wear your teeth away. Also, small bits of broken porous wooden toothpicks, if swallowed, may be problematic if you’re unlucky. I actually had a patient who nearly died from it because the wood didn’t show on the x-ray and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was causing the worsening infection.
They opened him up and finally found a small section of a wooden toothpick. If you use a plastic toothpick make sure the plastic doesn’t break when you bend it backwards and forwards. If you get a bit break off in between your teeth make sure you get it out just in case you forget and swallow it, because, unlike broken interdental brushes made from wire, plastic won’t show up on x-rays.
3. Use Interdental Brushes to Clean Those Hard to Reach Gaps
There are many manufacturers of these and they come in a large range of shapes and sizes so there is going to be one that fits the gap between your teeth. They are simple to use and only require one hand, unlike conventional floss you have to wrap around your fingers. Some would say interdental brushes have an advantage over floss on the back teeth where there are little indents between the roots.
These indents, or furcations as dentists call them, are not really cleaned by the floss because it travels over the tops of the two bumps on either side and skips over the valley in between, whereas interdental brushes have bristles that spring out to flick away any plaque and food debris in those valleys or grooves between the roots.
Spectacular improvements in the condition of the gum and the reduced propensity for it to bleed are often observed by dentists and hygienists when patients start using interdental brushes. As a result of this, they have become very popular alternatives to flossing.