Oral Health and Genetic Risk Factors

How to Floss Between Teeth With Larger Gaps

Flossing is an important part of a good dental hygiene routine. Dental floss can reach the gaps between your teeth that your toothbrush may not be able to access, allowing you to clean food particles and debris from in between your teeth. If you don't floss, these particles can get trapped and may turn into plaque, which can damage your teeth and gums, or they may contribute to bad breath when your mouth tries to break them down and get rid of them.

Flossing is not always easy, however, especially if you have larger gaps between some of your teeth. Dental floss is designed to glide through small and tight spaces, allowing it to push or pull debris out. If you use floss on a larger gap, it may simply float though without the traction to clean as effectively as it should. How can you floss larger gaps between your teeth?

Use a Different Type of Floss

If regular floss is too small or narrow to fill a gap between your teeth, you may be able to floss more effectively with a specialist flossing product. For example, some flosses are designed for awkward spaces, such as those created by braces or bridges. As well as working well for people who have dental appliances, these flosses may be better suited to gappy teeth.

This kind of floss may be fatter and spongier than a regular floss, allowing the floss to work in larger gaps more effectively. Some smart flosses also expand a little when you use them to better fit the spaces between your teeth.

Bear in mind that specialist flosses may not be wide enough to fill all gaps. If you have larger gaps between your teeth, even a wider floss may not touch the sides effectively, and you may need to look for a different solution. 

Use Interdental Brushes

Larger gaps between your teeth may be better suited to interdental brushes rather than floss. These tiny reusable brushes do the same kind of job as flossing. However, they use bristles attached to a wire to brush the sides of your teeth and your gum line when you insert them between your teeth and rub them back and forth. They work well on larger gaps because they can fill a larger space and are flexible enough to expand and contract as necessary.

Tip: It's important to use the right size of interdental brush for the size of your gap. If a brush is too small for the gap between two teeth, it won't clean the sides of the teeth effectively; if a brush is too big, you won't be able to push it through the gap comfortably. If you aren't sure which size to use and don't want to keep buying brushes until you hit on the correct size, ask your dentist for advice on the best size to fit your gaps.