Oral Hygiene Devices

The photo on the right hand side is from one of our readers.  She wants to know how to use them correctly.

The items #1 and 2 are called threaders.  The first one is re-usable, whereas the second is probably disposable.  They are often used to clean bridges and braces, where we cannot use regular dental floss.  A regular floss goes through the hole of #1 device.  Then the threader goes through underneath a bridge or braces and brings the regular floss through.  Then we use the regular floss for cleaning.

#3 device is a replacement for floss, when people do not know how to hold floss.  This device has a long handle (blue), which helps us reach back teeth.  The white portion has a short segment of floss.

#4 device must be a special bent tooth pick (white), which can easily reaches the back part of our mouth.  The separate small tinny-tiny brush is used to clean the area between our teeth (when our gums are receding).

The devices #5 and 6, like the #4 (separate one), are usually called interdental (between the teeth) or interproximal brushes.  The spaces between our teeth may be small or large.  We should choose the right size of the interdental brushes.  The #5 device has a handle, easy to hold for seniors.  But when you practice a lot, you should be able to use the interdental brush with smaller handle (#6).

The last dental device (#7) is a regular toothbrush, the most common instrument to combat bacteria.  In fact, smaller head with soft bristle can do better job.  Please see other articles under Home Care of Chapter 2. Adult.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 06/12/2011, last revision 08/08/2011