Have you ever wondered at what point in life people begin to clean between their teeth? From my own personal experience, it’s usually those around mid-thirties – often who’ve had a dental appointment and been told that they should already be doing it. They’ve probably been told this for years, but mid-thirty year olds seem to begin to take notice. Perhaps bleeding gums, costs of dental treatment, general link between dental health and overall health, who knows, but the penny begins to drop.
This then, results in the question, at what point SHOULD one, clean between their teeth?
Short answer – as soon as two teeth touch together.
At this point, you have two surfaces (at least) which a toothbrush cannot reach. These surfaces still need to be cleaned, especially to prevent cavities between teeth.
Based on this, there is no specific age that one must begin their interdental cleaning, however, it is most likely a process that should be started a lot younger than you may have originally thought.
A very rough guide, is that from around the age of 6, you may notice a child’s teeth coming into contact with others. The first permanent molar erupts tight behind all the baby molars and is easily mistaken for a baby tooth. Parents can start to clean between their child’s teeth as well as brushing all surfaces of every tooth at night and in the morning with fluoride toothpaste. Every child is different and it really varies from child to child. Certainly something to keep an eye out for and consider, even if only to begin forming healthy habits for the future.
As for what is best to use? My recommended ‘starter’ interdental cleaning product for children is GumChucks. GumChucks are a two-handled floss system which allows you to control the tension and easily make a c-shape around the gum line, in order to scrape the plaque off. The tips can be easily changed and there is a kids starter pack available. The starter pack contains a set of yellow handles and 12 tips. Click here for more information.
(Not just for kids – if you have teeth that are tight together and use floss – for you too!)
Of course, there are other products also available, such as interdental brushes, which are also highly recommended. The finest size is the best for healthy gums and tiny teeth.
Remember, when introducing your child to interdental cleaning, teach them to do this BEFORE tooth brushing. This ensures the toothpaste reaches as much tooth surface as possible.
If you’re not confident, feel free to book an online coaching session for yourself and your child/children. You’ll all be interdental enthusiasts in no time!