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What’s the Difference Between Dental Floss and Interdental Cleaners?

One of the most important parts of your dental care plan is cleaning between your teeth. Plaque that remains between teeth can harden into tartar. Once this happens, it can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist. If tartar is left in place, it can lead to gum inflammation and bleeding, which are signs of early gum disease. Because toothbrushes cannot reach between your teeth, flossing regularly is critical for keeping your mouth healthy. Using dental floss or interdental cleaners helps remove food particles and plaque and reduces your chances of developing gum disease that can lead to tooth loss.

To ensure the best performance and quality, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the packaging of both dental floss and interdental devices. 

Here are the differences between the two products: 



  • Interdental Cleaners ­–Interdental cleaning devices are made from wood or plastic. Like floss, they are used to clean between teeth. Many interdental cleaners have tiny brushes attached to their ends.
  • Dental Floss – Floss is typically made from nylon filaments or plastic monofilaments. Some floss is coated with wax to make it easier to slide between teeth; both waxed and unwaxed floss are effective. To make flossing more enjoyable, some dental floss products contain flavoring.

Should I Be Flossing or Brushing First? 



Either is acceptable, as long as you do a thorough job of both. Unfortunately, many people think their teeth are clean after brushing, so they skip the dental floss altogether. Even if your mouth feels fresh from brushing, plaque is still accumulating between teeth, so flossing is essential.

When Should I Floss? 



Some people prefer to floss before they go to bed to ensure that the mouth remains clean while sleeping.

Can I Reuse Floss?

Even if it’s been rinsed, used floss can deposit bacteria between teeth. Dental floss and all disposable interdental cleaners should be discarded immediately after use.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in South Bend, call The Dental Center of Indiana today or make an appointment.


The Dental Center of Indiana offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in South Bend. With 8 affiliated practices throughout Indiana, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At The Dental Center of Indiana, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at The Dental Center of Indiana.

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