The simple oral hygiene habit that will help keep your teeth healthy© filadendron / Getty
The simple oral hygiene habit that will help keep your teeth healthy

We all know that you have to brush your teeth twice a day, every day to maintain a healthy smile, but this may not be enough if you want to protect your pearly whites forever…

Particularly if you want to stave off gum disease, which can not only lead to oral health complications including tooth loss and bad breath, but has also been liked to heart disease and diabetes.

Well, according to dental expert Dr Milad Shadrooh, the key to protecting your teeth and avoiding gum disease is to incorporate a simple second step into your oral hygiene routine after brushing, one that many of us forget: interdental cleaning.

‘It’s basically cleaning in-between the teeth, to get to the parts that brushing misses,’ he told the Huffington Post.

‘The most well-known technique is flossing, but there are also small interdental brushes which can be highly effective at dislodging the plaque that can build up in these spaces.’

As Dr Shadrooh notes, many of us are put off by fiddly floss, so he recommends investing in an interdental brush instead.

‘In my opinion, a fantastic alternative [to traditional floss] – and the one I use – is the Philips Sonicare AirFloss Pro,’ he said.

‘It’s a great device for making daily interdental cleaning part of everyone’s routine, because it is so quick and easy to use. Press a button, power floss for 60 seconds, and with that alone you are helping to significantly improve your oral health.’

However, speaking to, Professor Damien Walmsley, the British Dental Association’s scientific adviser, explained that interdental brushes might not be suitable for everyone…

‘Small interdental brushes are preferable for cleaning the area in between the teeth, where there is space to do so,’ he said. ‘Use floss if the spaces between your teeth are too tight for the interdental brushes to fit without hurting or causing harm.

‘Use a brush that’s appropriate for the size of the space between your teeth, as advised by your dentist,’ he added. ‘Insert the brush gently between your teeth – don’t try to force it into the space, and work your way around all the teeth in a systematic manner.’

Whether you use an interdental brush or old-fashioned floss, make sure you’re cleaning between those teeth!

Related: 25 mistakes you’re making with your oral health