Why should I use interdental brushes?

Interdental brushes help to prevent gum disease by getting rid of pieces of food and plaque from between your teeth. They have small bristled heads specially designed to clean between your teeth.

You can buy them from pharmacies and supermarkets – they come in different widths to suit the sizes of the gaps between your teeth. 

How to use

  • aim to clean your teeth with interdental brushes once a day 
  • use a brush appropriate for the size of the space – you may need to use more than one size
  • insert the brush gently between your teeth – don't try to force the brush into the space; if it feels too tight, try a smaller brush size
  • work round the whole of your mouth, so you don't miss any of the spaces

What if my gums bleed?

When you first start using interdental brushes, your gums may be tender and bleed a little as you start to get rid of any plaque build-up. Carry on using the brushes and the bleeding should reduce as your gums become healthier.

If the bleeding doesn't stop after a few days, get advice from your dentist. They can check if you're using the interdental brushes correctly.

What if I find it difficult to use interdental brushes?

If you find it difficult to use interdental brushes, get advice from your dentist or dental hygienist. They can show you how to use them and give you advice about other ways to clean between your teeth, such as dental floss (see Why should I use dental floss?). However, some people find using dental floss more difficult.

Read the answers to more questions about dental health.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 15/03/2018

Next review due: 15/03/2021