The 80/20 Rule Relevant to Cleaner Teeth: Get the Gap!
Most people find it very difficult and tedious to clean the gaps between their teeth. It is much easier just to give a good old scrub, get it over and done within 30 seconds and get out of there. The ‘good old scrub’ typically employs random movements primarily on the outside of the teeth – and occasionally on the inside if you’re lucky.
In truth this kind of tooth brushing – obviously two minutes would be better – does clean the outside surfaces of the teeth and often does a reasonable job of preventing decay and gum disease that starts in the areas that are fairly easy to get at.
80% of the problems start in 20% of the places
However, and it is a big, however, it is the gap in between the teeth that accounts for a huge percentage of the problems people get, such as decay and gum disease. You can think of it like the 80/20 rule – 80% of the problems start in 20% of the places.
Mathematically, the tooth has five surfaces – four sides and a top. Two of those sides touch adjacent teeth and form the gap – that’s 2 surfaces out of 5 or 40%. It is on those minority of surfaces that nearly all the decay starts and most periodontal disease. The other 60% of the tooth surfaces seem to get by fairly well with standard brushing especially if you have had fluoride in your drinking water when you are aged from 2 to 8 years old.
The gap between the teeth is the source of the greatest number of woes for dental patients and the area that used to be the hardest to clean. The times are changing and cleaning these gaps is now nowhere near as difficult or tedious as it used to be.
Traditionally most Dentists and Hygienists have recommended floss but a surprisingly large percentage of the population (approximate 80 to 90%) never do it, or try it and give up because it is too tedious or manually difficult for them.
Check out this article to learn more about cleaning those hard to reach gaps