Interdental Brushes Now More Popular Than Floss in UK

Peter Russell

June 07, 2017

More British adults are using interdental brushes than traditional floss as part of their dental care routine, a poll shows.

A survey carried out for the Oral Health Foundation also shows that more of us are heeding advice from dentists and hygienists about the importance of cleaning between our teeth to improve oral hygiene and prevent tooth loss.

Results show that:

  • 34% use interdental brushes

  • 31% favour floss

  • 17% use floss tape

  • 12% prefer floss harps

  • 7% use waterjets

Removing Plaque Between the Teeth

Interdental brushes have small bristled heads that are designed to clean between teeth. They come in different widths to accommodate different sized spaces.

They are widely available in pharmacies and supermarkets.

Anyone who encounters problems using interdental brushes is advised to get advice from their dentist or hygienist who can demonstrate the best method or recommend using dental floss or another method of cleaning.

The Oral Health Foundation says brushing alone only cleans 3 of the 5 surfaces of our teeth making cleaning between them vital for preventing gum disease, or gingivitis, by removing plaque from areas out of reach of an ordinary toothbrush.

It recommends interdental brushes rather than flossing as the evidence for their effectiveness is stronger.

The poll shows that 62% of adults clean between their teeth regularly, up from just 19% in 2007.

Health Complications

According to the Foundation, people are becoming more aware that gum disease is linked to health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, pregnancy complications and dementia.

CEO, Dr Nigel Carter, says: "The stereotype of Brits having 'bad teeth' is very much a thing of the past."

Details of the poll have been released to coincide with National Smile Month.


Oral Health Foundation

NHS Choices

British Society of Periodontology