The efficacy of interdental brushes on plaque and parameters of periodontal inflammation: a systematic review

Int J Dent Hyg. 2008 Nov;6(4):253-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2008.00330.x.


Aim: The aim of the study was to asses the effect of the use of interdental brushes (IDB) in patients as an adjunct to toothbrushing compared with toothbrushing alone or other interdental oral hygiene devices on plaque and the clinical parameters of periodontal inflammation.

Material and methods: MEDLINE-PubMed and the Cochrane Central register of controlled trials (CENTRAL) were searched through November 2007 to identify appropriate studies. Clinical parameters of periodontal inflammation such as plaque, gingivitis, bleeding and pockets were selected as outcome variables.

Results: Independent screening of the titles and abstracts of 218 MEDLINE-PubMed and 116 Cochrane papers resulted in nine publications that met the eligibility criteria. Mean values and standard deviations were collected by data extraction. Descriptive comparisons are presented for brushing alone or brushing and woodsticks; meta-analyses were also performed for the floss comparison.

Conclusion: As an adjunct to brushing, the IDB removes more dental plaque than brushing alone. Studies showed a positive significant difference using IDB with respect to the plaque scores, bleeding scores and probing pocket depth. The majority of the studies presented a positive significant difference in the plaque index when using the IDB compared with floss.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Devices, Home Care
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control*
  • Dental Plaque Index
  • Gingival Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Gingivitis / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Periodontal Index
  • Periodontal Pocket / prevention & control
  • Periodontitis / prevention & control*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design
  • Toothbrushing / instrumentation*