Objective: The study was conducted to compare the performance of three interdental products to dental floss in the control and removal of plaque, and in the reduction of gingivitis.
Methodology: One-hundred and twenty subjects were screened for the presence of interproximal sites of a size suitable for a GUMO Go-Betweens cleaner, and for being in compliance with inclusion and exclusion criteria. They were then assessed with the Plaque, Gingivitis, and Eastman Interdental Bleeding Indices (EIBI) at baseline, given a prophylaxis, randomly assigned to one of four products (Glide dental floss, Butler flossers, GUM Go-Betweens cleaners, and GUM Soft-Picks cleaners), and given product use instructions. Subjects returned at three weeks for a compliance review and at six weeks for a final visit. Plaque was assessed at the final visit before and after using the assigned products. Plaque, gingivitis, and bleeding scores were evaluated by analysis of covariance using the baseline measurements as the covariate.
Results: All four interdental products significantly reduced interdental plaque from baseline to before-use at the final visit (after six weeks) employing baseline plaque as a covariate. Reductions were 16% to 24%. Similarly, use of the products at the final visit resulted in 26% to 31% reductions in plaque with the before-use plaque as a covariate. Interdental gingivitis scores showed a reduction both lingually and buccally, with reductions ranging from 27% to 36% for the former and 34% to 53% for the latter (baseline was the covariate). No statistical differences were found between the products on the lingual interdental sites. The Go-Betweens cleaners showed a statistically greater reduction in the Gingival Index score buccally than the other three products. No differences were noted among the products for the EIBI.
Conclusion: In this study, dental floss, the recognized "gold standard" for gingivitis reduction, was matched in performance by flossers and an interdental cleaner with small elastomeric fingers, and surpassed by an interdental brush. All products performed comparably for plaque reduction and removal.