Toothpick Vs Dental Floss : Which Is Better?

As part of our eating culture, several food particles get stuck between our teeth. Be it toffee, meat, bread or popcorn, they get stuck between our teeth, gum line or molars. Our grandparents used to have a short cup filled with toothpicks on their dining table. It was a routine for them to use a toothpick after each meal, fighting with these food particles.  This practice has been followed for ages because daily oral hygiene plays a vital role in dental health. Everyone is familiar with the adage, we need to brush our teeth twice a day to maintain dental hygiene. But, what about flossing and using a toothpick? Is it necessary to practice these regularly with brushing? Let us find out:

Why thorough Dental hygiene is Essential?

Our tooth has five surfaces: front, back, top, right side, and left side. Have you thought about those tight sides of your tooth where the bristles of the toothbrush can’t even reach? This is the favorite place of most of the bacteria to grow and multiply damaging our teeth. When food particles get stuck between the teeth, you start developing bad breath, plaque build-up, tartar build-up, and gum disease.  It can lead to dental cavities and various other problems. Inflammation of the gums causes bleeding and this will allow the easy entry of bacteria into the bloodstream. This increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. For a diabetic, it becomes difficult to maintain the blood glucose level and for pregnant women, it can lead to premature birth. Poor oral health can also lead to cancer and lung diseases.

Brushing can remove the plaques that are present on the surface of the teeth, but it can’t reach the tight sides in between. Here comes the role of toothpick and dental floss. These are designed to reach the areas that can’t be reached by toothbrush bristles easily.  People are often confused about which one to use.  It’s better to understand each one thoroughly and use it regularly.

Toothpick

Toothpicks are handy to dislodge the food particles that get stuck on the teeth surface after eating each meal. This will help you keep your mouth fresh and clean. Toothpicks are usually made up of plastic or wood and can be flat or round in shape. Some of them are fluorinated and flavored. A toothpick should be used carefully with a delicate touch to dislodge the food particles from the teeth and make sure not to damage your gum or teeth. Vigorous use of toothpick can lead to significant problems like damaging the papilla, and gums in between the teeth that leads to bleeding gums. A toothpick should be used as and when required only. Aggressive use of toothpick can lead to the damage of tooth enamel and gum tissue too. Habitual use of toothpick can cause an injury that widens the spaces between two adjacent teeth. It creates ugly black gaps which can accumulate food particles in that area. Soft-Picks are better preferred than wooden toothpicks as they are flexible and its tapered synthetic rubber bristles can fit easily between the teeth. They are used occasionally to remove food particles that are stuck in your teeth since you can’t floss at the table. Brushing your teeth twice a day should essentially be part of your dental hygiene routine.

Dental Floss

The standard process of dental floss is considered the most effective way of cleaning the tight spaces between the teeth. Flossing should be done regularly especially right before your bedtime. Since it is a tedious task many of us smartly avoid it. If you are thinking which is better, using a toothpick or flossing, check out The Great Debate: Dental Floss Vs Toothpicks to get a better insight.The dental floss is available in a variety of materials, flavors, colors, waxed and unwaxed. By finding the right type of floss according to your dental structure, the process becomes easy and handy. It should be used gently so that the gums won’t get hurt or cut. You can scrape up and down and back and forth curving around each tooth using dental floss. Make sure to reach below the gumline while scraping the tooth using floss.

How to do flossing?

Flossing the right way is vital, for which you need to understand how to use one first.  The length of the piece of dental floss used for the process should be of the person’s hand to shoulder length. It should be wound around the index and middle finger keeping two inches of distance in between. Wrap the floss in a C shape at the bottom of the tooth and slide the floss two-three times from the bottom to the tip of the tooth. This way each tooth can be cleaned properly. After completing each area, the floss should be rolled from one finger to another to get a clean piece of floss to avoid the transfer of bacteria from one part to another. Afterward, the teeth should be brushed by following the given guidelines and mouth should be rinsed with an antibacterial mouthwash to wash away the leftover bacteria. This way flosses are safe compared to pointed toothpicks.

Why use Floss holders?

These are pre-threaded flosser, which comes is a pack of 50-100 and convenient for those who face difficulty flossing. This is an excellent option to get your child on a flossing routine as you can find floss specially designed for small mouths.

Use waxed flosses

If you have experienced a plain dental floss getting stuck to your teeth, getting shredded or breaking between the teeth, use waxed floss or floss made from polytetrafluoroethylene.  Polytetrafluoroethylene is a very strong and slick material that is best suited for cleaning between teeth that are packed together with less or no gap in between. ‘Shred resistant’ extra thin floss also known as monofilament floss is also available in the market for people having teeth that are very close to each other. On the other hand, people with a wide gap between the teeth will get the best result by using a flat and wide dental tape. This is also suitable for those who have exposed roots that are caused by gum recession.

Why do you need to Floss daily?

Once you get handy with the right kind of floss that matches your dental structure, make sure to incorporate flossing into your daily routine. Also, it is very important to get this habit inculcated in children. Unlike the usage of a toothpick, flossing is not a once in a while task. It is as important as brushing daily to maintain good oral hygiene. To maintain a healthy smile on your face flossing regularly is a must routine.

Floss picks are also preferred for cleaning teeth. But it is not considered as a good practice to maintain oral hygiene daily. This is because each time when you floss a particular area using a floss pick it gets covered with bacteria. When the same floss pick is used to clean another area of the teeth, the bacteria get transferred and can cause infection.

To conclude the debate: toothpick Vs dental floss, toothpicks, and floss picks are good for occasional use, while flossing is the better option to maintain everyday oral hygiene. Over time, with advanced technologies in medical science, toothbrush, floss and mouthwash play a key role in maintaining your dental health thereby keeping your healthy smile bright forever.

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