In vitro comparison of cleaning efficacy and force of cylindric interdental brush versus an interdental rubber pick

Graetz C et al. This in vitro study aimed to compare the experimental cleaning efficacy and experimental cleaning force of interdental brushes and interdental rubber picks.

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For this purpose, an experimental setup was developed to assure both reproducibility and accuracy. Cylindrical interdental brushes of four different sizes, ISO sizes 1, 2, 3 and 4, were used, as well as a tapered interdental rubber pick. Four different morphologies, all in three different sizes, of an artificial interdental space were used. An occlusal spray, used to imitate plaque, was applied in a standardised way.


When the area of removed artificial plaque was calculated, using digital image subtraction, the interdental brushes showed an overall significantly better cleaning efficacy than the interdental rubber picks. Moreover, the rubber picks displayed a higher experimental cleaning force, something the authors explain by a bigger contact area between the rubber parts and the artificial tooth surface than between the nylon filaments of the interdental brush and the surface.


This study confirmed that interdental brushes are the most efficient device for interdental cleaning and also reinforced the importance of choosing the correct size. But as the authors emphasise, the choice of interdental cleaning device needs to be based on both clinical perspectives and the patient’s capability to use the device.

A summary of a scientific article

This summary of a scientific study by Graetz C et al. is presented by Anna Nilvéus Olofsson, DDS, Manager Odontology and Scientific Affairs. Click here for more information.