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Dental Floss Vs. Interdental Brushes: Which Is Best?

Posted on April 22, 2015 | in Dental Care | by

The Between Teeth Cleaning Tool Debate

Say that three times fast! Dental floss or interdental brushes are two top tools for the task at hand.

Craftsmen (and dentists) around the world agree, if you don’t apply the right tool for the job at hand, optimal results will be difficult to come by.

And when we’re talking tooth cleaning tools, reaching the crevices & crannies in between teeth is essential for maintaining optimal oral health – & overall health!

Really the choice is a personal one reliant on many individual factors – just like the dental debate between manual vs. electric toothbrushes.

Dental Floss Vs. Interdental Brushes: Which One Is Best?

There may certainly be a purely defined winner in the floss vs. interdental brushes debate, so let’s examine some advantages & disadvantages of each to help you choose your tooth-cleaning weapon.

This comprehensive comparison between dental floss & interdental brushes came to us by way of our Dental Health News community over on Google+ – you know, that soon to be reportedly “dead” social media platform.

It was written by dental consultant, Gitiara Nasrin, we only made minor changes to formatting but kept mostly all of the text as Gitiara originally wrote it – in her words, you can read the post here.

Dental Floss or Interdental Brush: Which Is Better for Daily Use?

As a dental consultant I often face this question.

Nowadays interdental brushes are quite the trending piece of dental cleaning equipment. So the question arises, which one is better?

Let’s discuss some points to compare this trending cute little brush with widely used dental floss.


Floss Vs. Interdental Brushes: Which Is Better?

Good things:

1. Easy to do (Grab the handle and insert between teeth back & forth, done).
2. Easy to clean the brush.
3. Can clean large gaps, specially formed between tilted teeth, dental crown (cap) or a dental bridge (multiple dental caps).
4. No wax layer is formed over tooth surface like waxed dental floss (wax layer often act as a media for plaque accumulation ).

Bad things:

1. Needs a lubricant before cleaning otherwise might injure gum while inserting. Thus adds an extra effort & a little extra cost.
2. More expensive than Dental Floss.
3. Have a wire in center of the micro brush which often cause injury to gum while cleaning. Gum flap between teeth ( dental papilla ) often destructed if roughly used & it’s a very important part for maintaining tooth integrity.
4. You can clean it but not completely like sterile one 7 that’s also important because when the used brush injures gum while cleaning might leave some harmful germs & cause infection.
5. A common accident these brushes cause, prick the gum & causes bleeding as the thin twisted wire often bends when you are cleaning.


Dental Floss is BETTER than Interdental Brushes? 
Good things:

1. Doesn’t have any of the above mentioned bad things.
2. Clean whole tooth sides where IDB only can clean the gaps between.
3. Always more hygienic as discarded after single use.
4. No additional lubricant is needed. Saves time & money.
5. No chance of gum injury by the floss if excessive pressure not applied as products use soft floss materials.
6. No chance of dental papilla destruction.

Bad things (can be eliminated):

1. Leaves a wax layer. Just use a non waxed variety, done.
2. Large interdental spaces a little tough to clean with single strand, double the strand or a knot while cleaning larger spaces solves the problem.

I will personally give dental floss a big 5 Star rating and interdental brush gets 1 Star looking at it’s hazardous effects if used for daily tooth cleaning.

NB: In patients who is under fixed orthodontic treatment have no other choice but interdental brushes to clean complicated spaces which floss can never reach, they only gets the benefit of IDB. And I think I will only recommend IDB for them.

Dental Floss Vs. Interdental Brushes: FLOSS WINS!

So there we have it, right from a dental professionals mouth…FLOSS IS BOSS!

But here’s the kicker, unless we actually use the floss we won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of fresh breath, clean teeth, gums free of disease, & less money spend on dental care.

So in closing, whichever between tooth-cleaning tool you choose to tout – be it dental floss or interdental brushes – just remember one thing: use it…or lose your teeth!

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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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