To compare the use of interdental brushes to a periodontal probe in assessing marginal bleeding, in natural gingivitis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Sixty-four consecutive volunteers presenting with gingival inflammation were recruited at their semi-annual recall appointments for this study. All had ≥50% papillary height and no pocketing that exceeded 4 mm. Contra-lateral quadrants (1 & 3 or 2 & 4) were randomly tested for bleeding with one pass-through with an interdental brush or with a periodontal probe inserted 2 mm into the gingival sulcus. The presence or absence of both bleeding and plaque were then recorded. Correlation coefficients were calculated for the interdental brushes and the periodontal probe, and the plaque and bleeding scores.
The periodontal probe and the interdental brushes showed mean average bleeding scores of 47.39% and 45.74% respectively. The correlation coefficient for the two methods was 0.73 (P < 0.0001). No correlation between plaque and bleeding was found.
Interdental brushes can be considered a valid alternative to a periodontal probe in assessing marginal bleeding in gingivitis patients. An interdental brush, sized correctly for each interdental space, is easy to handle, atraumatic to the papillae and will allow gingivitis patients to monitor their own progress, while at the same time performing a beneficial oral hygiene procedure and removing any interdental plaque present.