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A smiling man uses a rubber interdental pick to clean his interdental spaces

Interdental Brushing: What Is It & Why Is It Effective

Did you know that the idea for the modern toothpick was inspired by Brazilian farmers?

Fashioned out of wood or really any material they could find (even bird claws!), toothpicks were one of the first primitive inventions used to keep people’s teeth and gums healthy and fresh.

Fortunately, today, we have more advanced and diverse technology for the task. With the evolution of interdental brushes, people have a safe, effective way of keeping their gums clean and clear.

So, what is interdental brushing and why is it so effective?

Wondering how to best clean between your teeth? Watch our video:

Video illustrating how to clean between your teeth using GUM Interdentals brushes

Find the best interdental for you and check our guide here:

Facts About Interdental Brushes

Interdental brushes as we know them today were first introduced in the 1980s as an effective alternative to flossing. Since then, technology has evolved to create more comfortable and easy-to-use brushes for patients of all ages.

Here are some more need-to-know facts about interdental brushing:

Interdental brushes should be used once a day (in the evening for example) as part of the ideal oral care routine made of three easy steps:

  1. Cleaning between the teeth
  2. Toothbrushing with a soft toothbrush and a gentle toothpaste
  3. Rinsing with a gentle mouthwash.

Some interdental cleaning devices, such as our GUM SOFT-PICKS® are also suitable on-the-go (as they come with a practical travel case) and you can bring them with you during the day.

A complete self care with GUM SONIC Sensitive Toothbrush, GUM SensiVital+ toothpaste, GUM SensiVital+ mouthrinse into the bathroom

Interdental brushes come in a variety of styles and types

Interdental brushes are meant to clean gaps between teeth, which can vary widely in size and shape. To accommodate this, specialists have designed interdental brushes in a variety of materials (with nylon coated wire bristles, like GUM TRAV-LER®), styles, types, and sizes to suit every type of user.

Beyond brushes, interdental picks that are made of rubber and designed for a gentle touch like GUM SOFT-PICKS can be a popular alternative. 

A single interdental brush can be used several times.

Interdental brushes can be used several times before they need to be replaced. If your interdental brush looks to be “worn out,” it’s time for a replacement, but normally it can be used for up to one week. The brushes of the GUM TRAV-LER series are coated with chlorhexidine, an antiseptic that can help to prevent contamination with bacteria. Rubber interdental picks are instead designed for single use.

Interdental brushes can be used with braces.

Orthodontic patients are recommended to use their interdental brush at least one time per day along with their traditional toothbrush. They can use it classically for interdental spaces but also along the brackets: One should slide the brush between the orthodontic wire and the teeth, carefully moving the brush up and down to remove food particles.


Interdental brushes should NOT be used with toothpaste.

You can simply use your interdental toothbrush with water and brush gently with a back and forth or up and down motion. 

How to Use Interdental Brushes

Using interdental brushes is simple.

In fact, we – and many dental professionals – believe they are much easier to use than dental floss! Always ask guidance to your dentist about the tools and techniques of usage that are best fitted to your needs.

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose an interdental brush or pick that fits the spaces between your teeth. You may have to use more than one size.
  2. Clean your teeth with interdental brushes or picks at least once per day before or after brushing.
  3. Insert the brush between your teeth and brush gently. Make sure you use the right size; it should not feel like you have to force the brush between your teeth. Use floss, gently, in very tight spaces where a brush can’t fit.
  4. Repeat this for every gap between your teeth. Do this for your whole mouth, paying special attention to the hard-to-reach areas.
  5. Continue your regular routine using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  6. Complete your routine with a daily mouthrinse.
Daily oral care routine with GUM Interdental Soft-Picks Advanced, GUM SONIC toothbrush, GUM ActiVital toothpaste and GUM ActiVital Mouthrinse

For more guidance, have a look at the video below or read our blog on the best tips for how to use an interdental brush effectively

Best Interdental Brushes to Buy Online

Interdental brushes are an easy-to-use alternative to floss – and there are tons of great options available for purchase online.

Here are our top favorites:


GUM TRAV-LER interdental brushes

GUM BI-DIRECTION interdental brushes  


GUM SOFT-PICKS rubber interdental picks

Add Interdental Brushing to Your Oral Care Routine

Brushing alone has been proven ineffective at thoroughly removing plaque and buildup from teeth. Adding interdental brushing is the most effective combination in helping prevent plaque, gum disease, and more!

At SUNSTAR, all of our GUM Brand Interdental Brushes are designed to make interdental cleaning really easy and comfortable. Every brush has a soft, ergonomic handle, making them easy to guide around the mouth.

Add interdental brushing to your routine as a more effective and comfortable flossing alternative.