It is a well-known fact that good oral hygiene is essential to maintaining oral health. The two most common oral diseases, caries and periodontal disease, are predominantly interdental diseases since the interdental area is where plaque preferably accumulates and also an area that cannot be reached with a toothbrush. Therefore, interdental cleaning in adjunct to toothbrushing are cornerstones in achieving plaque control in daily oral home care.
Several studies have compared interdental brushes and other interdental cleaning devices, especially floss, with respect to their influence on plaque and gingivitis. Patient preference is also a factor that has been evaluated. The research in favour of interdental brushes is convincing. Anna Nilvéus Olofsson, DDS, Manager Odontology and Scientific Affairs, has selected and summarized five especially important studies in support of interdental brushes. You can find the summaries below.
Please also see the extensive compilation of references, Interdental Brushes: A Reference List of Scientific Articles, at the bottom of this page.
A network meta-analysis of interproximal oral hygiene methods in the reduction of clinical indices of inflammation
This study aims to compare the effect, measured as gingival inflammation, bleeding-on-probing, plaque, and pocket depth, between different interdental cleaning regimes. The regimes included are flossing, powered flossing, toothpicks, toothpicks and intensive oral hygiene instructions, water jet irrigation devices, interdental brushes, gum massaging devices, toothbrush only (controls), powered toothbrush (controls), powered toothbrush and waterjet. Read more here.
Comparison of interdental brush to dental floss for reduction of clinical parameters of periodontal disease: A systematic review
The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the efficiency of interdental brushes and dental floss as adjuncts to toothbrushing for reducing gingival bleeding and dental plaque. Included studies were randomized controlled trials, including split mouth and crossover trials. Four papers were included for the analysis on bleeding outcome and seven papers for the analysis on plaque outcome. The results indicate that the interdental brush is more efficient than dental floss for reducing both bleeding and plaque. Read more here.
Primary prevention of periodontitis: managing gingivitis
This is a report from the 11th European Workshop in Periodontology on primary prevention of periodontitis. The working group has focused on four different approaches: mechanical self-administered plaque control regimes, self-administered interdental mechanical plaque control, adjunctive chemical plaque control and anti-inflammatory approaches. A number of conclusions are drawn in this report. It is implied that professional oral hygiene instruction contributes to plaque and gingivitis reduction, and that reinforcement of the instruction may lead to enhanced results. Read more here.
Efficacy of inter-dental mechanical plaque control in managing gingivitis – a meta-review
This meta-review, a systematic review including only systematic reviews, compiled the effect of dental floss, woodsticks, interdental brushes and an oral irrigator used for interdental plaque removal in managing gingivitis. Six systematic reviews were included – regarding dental floss (2 studies), woodsticks (1 study), interdental brushes (2) and oral irrigator (1). Read more here.
The effectiveness of conically shaped compared with cylindrically shaped interdental brushes - a randomized controlled clinical trial
In this randomized controlled clinical study, the aim was to compare the effectiveness of conical and cylindrical interdental brushes in respect to plaque and bleeding scores. The subjects included in the study were patients enrolled in a supportive periodontal maintenance program for at least one year after treatment of periodontitis. Read more here.