Comparison of interdental cleaning methods: a randomized controlled trial

J Periodontol. 2006 Aug;77(8):1421-9. doi: 10.1902/jop.2006.050360.


Background: Although interdental cleaning is an integral component of home plaque control for periodontally involved patients, limited data exist on the periodontal benefits of commonly used interdental cleaning methods before definitive root surface debridement is undertaken. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the effects of a customized interdental brushing technique and a customized flossing technique on clinical periodontal outcomes prior to root surface debridement in chronic periodontitis cases.

Methods: This was a single-blind, randomized controlled clinical trial. Seventy-seven patients with chronic periodontitis were measured for plaque, relative interdental papillae level, Eastman interdental bleeding index, probing depths, and bleeding on probing at interdental sites and underwent a 10-minute hand scaling to remove easily accessible calculus deposits. Before group allocation, patients were advised on toothbrushing and instructed in two customized methods of interdental cleaning involving dental floss and precurved interdental brushes. Materials were supplied after random allocation. Participants were recalled at 6 and 12 weeks for clinical measurements, reinforcement of instructions, and fresh materials.

Results: There were significant reductions from baseline for all indices in both groups (P <0.01). At 6 weeks, the interdental brush group improved more than the floss group in every parameter (P <0.05). By 12 weeks, the changes in plaque, papillae level, and probing depths were significantly greater in the interdental brush group than the floss group (P <0.01).

Conclusion: This trial demonstrated that patients were able to improve clinical periodontal outcomes by interdental cleaning, particularly with interdental brushes, even before thorough root surface debridement was undertaken.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dental Devices, Home Care*
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control*
  • Dental Plaque Index
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Periodontal Attachment Loss / prevention & control*
  • Periodontal Index
  • Periodontitis / therapy*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Toothbrushing / instrumentation
  • Toothbrushing / methods*