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 designed to clean between your teeth, and they come in different widths to suit the sizes of the gaps.
You can buy them from pharmacies and in supermarkets.
How to use interdental brushes
- Aim to clean your teeth with interdental brushes once a day before brushing.
- Use a brush appropriate for the size of the space between your teeth – you may need to use more than one size.
- Insert the brush gently between your teeth and move it back and forth to remove any food or plaque.
- Try a smaller brush size if it feels too tight – don't try to force the brush into the space.
- 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 you're still getting bleeding 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 the brushes 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.
Page last reviewed: 8 November 2023
Next review due: 8 November 2026