Floss vs. Toothpicks: Which is Better for Daily Dental Cleaning?

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is part of our contemporary society that features regular appointments where you meet with your dentist to ensure your mouth, teeth, and gums are healthy. From children and teens to adults and seniors, everyone can benefit from regularly schedule dental cleanings.


When food gets stuck between your teeth, you can find yourself developing bad breath, plaque build-up, tartar build-up, and even eventually gingivitis or gum diseases. Dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar that has built up on your teeth using specialized instruments, includes scaling and polishing services, and can include a fluoride application, sealants (for children), x-rays, adjustments of certain dental appliances, and an oral examination to detect decay and other potential health problems.


It’s also a great time to seek advice from a dental professional. That advice often revolves around common questions like “should I use dental floss or a toothpick?” People often wonder which one is best but there isn’t a best product, both can be used on a regular basis.


Dental floss and toothpicks are designed to access and clean areas where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. Cleaning between the teeth, under dental work, and along the gum line, will remove debris that can cause bacteria and jeopardize the health of your mouth.


Flossing is an essential part of dental care and should be done on a daily basis, usually right before going to bed. Dental floss also comes in a variety of materials, colors, flavors, waxed or un-waxed. Gently guide it between your teeth without using too much force or you can cut your gums. Rub it back and forth, then up and down, curving around each tooth.


Toothpicks are a handy way to remove food particles stuck in your tooth after eating a meal, and keep your mouth clean and fresh. Toothpicks are generally made of wood or plastic and can be flat or round. Some toothpick products are flavored or fluorinated.


To properly use a toothpick, use a light, careful touch to loosen the food particle so as not to damage your teeth or gums. Vigorous use of a toothpick can cause damage to delicate gums, particularly if you have sensitive or receding gums. Toothpicks are normally used on an as-needed basis.


Some people think using a toothpick at the table is a breach of etiquette, so you might want to wait until you are alone before breaking out your toothpick. You certainly would never floss at the table. Using a toothpick should never take the place of flossing or brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth twice a day should be part of your dental hygiene routine.


At Joly Dental Care, we know preventative dentistry is an important factor in maintaining optimal oral health for our patients. One of the simplest methods is the routine dental cleaning provided by your dentist. Preventative checkups and programs are available to help fight off the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions. Book a dental cleaning for yourself or your whole family today.

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