We asked the experts at TePe, makers of those useful little interdental brushes, how they can help to care for our smiles – and just why do they come in different colours?
Why do I need to see a dental hygienist AND a dentist?
Dentists and hygienists have different roles. Dentists tend to look after the teeth, whilst dental hygienists are primarily concerned with helping you look after your gums and preventing dental disease.
I am useless at using floss – what's so great about interdental brushes?
Flossing is a tricky business but there are tools like floss threaders that can help you to use floss effectively, if the spaces between your teeth are too small to use interdental brushes. Interdental brushes are little ‘bottle brushes’ that clean the spaces inbetween the teeth simply and effectively. If you can use a pen, then you can usually use an interdental brush. They have been a real game changer in gum health!
My local Boots only sell a limited colour range of TePes, but the hygienist recommended a specific colour – can I get them from anywhere else?
Unfortunately, getting all nine of the TePe Interdental Brushes into all retail outlets is not possible. The TePe website lists current retail availability. However, most dental practices sell them or you can go online to purchase the full size range – just tap in TePe into your search engine. Small companies also run direct-to-home services via the internet or by a simple telephone service.
Does it matter if I use another colour?
Yes, the colours of the brushes are matched to a specific size of interdental brush and you should use a brush that fits snugly for the brush to be comfortable and effective. Rather unhelpfully, the different brands use different colours and so it is always best to check which colour size you need with your dental hygienist if you are using different brands to those recommended. As hygienists, we don’t mind what brand you use – we simply want you to use something that works for you and your gums! Whatever you use should be well made and of consistent high quality which is why the TePe brand is the brand recommended by 94% of the UK’s dental hygienists.
Using the wrong size of brush can be ineffective if too small, and damaging and painful if it is too large for the space. Using the correct size of brush for the site makes brushing more effective and can help make the brushes last longer.
Is this 'my colour' forever?
Not necessarily, no. Just like your prescription for glasses changes over time, so does the prescription for interdental brush size.
The spaces between your teeth change in size over time. One of the first symptoms of gum disease is inflammation – the puffy gums reduce the size of the spaces between the teeth. Effective daily toothbrushing and interdental cleaning to remove the bacteria that cause the inflammation will result in the gums becoming less inflamed and the spaces between the teeth ever so slightly larger. A larger space needs a slightly larger brush to clean it effectively.
Please talk me through the colour range...
The TePe brand has a range of nine brushes with pink being our smallest at 0.4mm through to Black, which is 1.5mm. They also come in two different designs, one with a longer handle –the TePe Angle, which can help you to reach the back of the mouth more easily. TePe also has an extra soft range for use by people who have sensitive teeth and gums.
How often should I see a hygienist to get my oral heath needs reassessed?
The frequency that you should visit your hygienist or dentist depends on your specific oral health needs. For some people with low risk of dental diseases, every two years is fine but, for the vast majority of us, six to 12 monthly is the ‘norm’. Some people who have a high risk of oral disease need to be seen by their dental hygienist as often as every three months. For example, individuals with Type II diabetes should be seen three monthly – active gum disease can have a negative effect on blood sugar control.
Are TePes an alternative to floss?
Absolutely, yes but only if the spaces between the teeth are big enough. Interdental brushes are far more effective than floss in the spaces large enough for them to be used as they clean more of the tooth surface more effectively than floss can in these areas.
What else do you have in the range?
TePe has a full range of oral hygiene products from toothbrushes to tongue cleaners as well as our extensive interdental cleaning range.