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International Poster Journal of Dentistry and Oral Medicine



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Int Poster J Dent Oral Med 7 (2005), No. 3     15. Sep. 2005

Int Poster J Dent Oral Med 2005, Vol 7 No 03, Poster 278

Cleaning Efficacy of Triangular Interdental Brushes

Language: English

Dr. Diana Wolff, Dr. Daniela Jörß, ZA Oliver Raeth, PD Dr. Thomas Pioch, PD Dr. Christof E. Dörfer
University of Heidelberg, School for Dental Medicine

March 2004


Due to the cross-sectional shape of interdental spaces, it was assumed that interdental brushes with triangular heads in cross section will have an improved cleaning efficacy compared to conventional round brushes.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the cleaning efficacy of prototypes triangular (TIB) compared to round interdental brushes (RIB) in vitro.

Fig. 1: Cross-sectional shape of a RIB and a protoype of TIB.S

Material and Methods

Extracted human teeth were fixed in a socket and matched to pairs in a reversible and reproducible manner, simulating two types of small interdental spaces (isoscele: 1.5mm wide, 1.5mm high, equilateral: 1.5mm each). The proximal tooth surfaces were covered with a dye indicator (Blue Marker, YETI Dentalprodukte GmbH, D-78234 Engen) to simulate plaque. After registering the baseline situation with a digital camera and a highly reproducible geometrical setup the teeth were relocated in their contact position. The interdental spaces were cleaned in a standardized manner followed by digital imaging of the proximal tooth surfaces as described above. The cleaning efficacy was quantified and related to the total proximal tooth surface by digital image subtraction and pixel count of the cleaned area. Four RIB and four prototypes of TIB, which were applicable for small interdental spaces, were tested (n=12).

Fig. 2.1.: Split cast model of a simulated interdental space. Fig. 2.2.: Coating of both proximal surfaces with a dye to simulate plaque.

Fig. 2.3.: Repositioning of the teeth and cleaning of the proximal surfaces with interdental brushes. Fig. 2.4.: Separation of teeth.

Fig. 3.1.: Baseline digital image of the proximal surface. Fig. 3.2.: Digital image of the coated proximal surface. Fig. 3.3.: Digital image of the cleaned proximal surface.

Fig. 3.4.: Digital subtraction (Paint Shop Pro 5.0). Fig. 3.5.: Conversion of the subtraction image into a black and white bitmap (Scion Image) and pixel count.

Statistical Analysis
Differences between TIB and RIB were analysed by means of the non-parametric Wilcoxon test for paired samples. The significance level was set at p=0.05.

Tab. 1: Cleaning efficacy and external diameter of the interdental brushes tested in the study.


In isocele, equilateral and both types of interdental spaces the round interdental brushes cleaned 37± 3%, 33± 3% and 35± 2% (Curaden), 50± 6%, 45± 6% and 48± 7% (Tepe), 50± 3%, 40± 2% and 45± 3% (Oral B) and 41± 6%, 33± 4% and 37± 3% (Butler), respectively. The triangular brushes cleaned 64± 7%, 49± 4% and 56± 4% (GABA #4), 67± 4%, 54± 5% and 60± 5% (GABA #5), 69± 6%, 54± 5% and 61± 5% (GABA #6), and 80± 6%, 59± 4 and 69± 3% (GABA #7), respectively. The differences between the TIB and RIB groups were statistically significant in any case (p<0.001, multisample Friedman-test).


All types of interdental brushes were effective. In small interdental spaces, triangular brushes have a higher cleaning efficacy compared to round interdental brushes. Additionally, TIBs penetrate the interdental space more easily as a consequence of their cross sectional shape. Compared to RIB bigger sizes of TIB can be used in small interdental spaces.

This Poster was submitted by Dr. Diana Wolff.

Correspondence address:
PD Dr.Christof E. Dörfer
Clinic for Conservative Dentistry
University of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 400
69120 Heidelberg