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The importance of flossing and interdental cleaning

What is interdental cleaning and why is it important?

Interdental cleaning is the process of cleaning between the teeth. It is important that we clean between our teeth as food and plaque are frequently trapped here, and not removing the food and plaque can increase our risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

What product should I use to clean between my teeth?

As the standard toothbrush bristles are unable to reach the narrow spaces between the teeth, it is important to invest in an interdental cleaning product such as dental floss, an interdental brush or a water flosser.

Dental floss is the most common product used and recommended. However, interdental brushes are often used alongside floss for those with braces or large spaces between their teeth. There are many different sizes of interdental brushes to choose from. It should fit firmly but comfortably between your teeth, otherwise try another size.

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Toothpicks should be avoided as they can cause gum damage, tooth wear and splintering.

Who should floss and how often?

Both adults and children should floss. Parents can start flossing their children’s teeth when the child has at least 2 teeth touching. As they get older and their fine motor skills improve, they will be able to start flossing their own teeth.

It is recommended to clean between our teeth at least once per day. Flossing before or after brushing are both fine.

Why are my gums bleeding?

Bleeding gums occurs when the teeth are not cleaned properly, leaving plaque behind. As plaque builds up, the gums become inflamed and a small contact with them such as with the dental floss can cause them to bleed. Flossing more often will actually help to reduce the frequency of gum bleeding as it removes the plaque between your teeth.


In summary, interdental cleaning is just as important as brushing your teeth and should be a part of your daily oral care regime. For more information on interdental cleaning visit or visit your local Dentist who can show you which interdental cleaning device is best and how to use it.

The team at Mason Square Dental is happy to answer any questions you have –

book online now or feel free to call us on (03) 9370 9118