If you've got into the habit of using toothpicks to clean between your teeth, then you should really think about switching to using dental floss. Toothpicks can cause some problems that could see you spending more time in your dentist's chair.
Why should you switch to flossing?
Floss Gives a More Effective Clean
A toothpick might clean off some of the surface gunk between your teeth, but it generally won't fit between them. Toothpicks are too wide to fit between most teeth. So, they don't actually give a completely effective clean in the gap.
Floss is designed to slide between the teeth completely. It cleans off surface gunk and removes anything that is stuck deeper in the gap. It gives you the more thorough cleaning you need to keep your teeth in good shape.
Broken Floss Is Easy to Remove
If a toothpick breaks when you use it, then some of it might get stuck between your teeth or in your gums. If you have a piece of wood or plastic stuck here, then it will be uncomfortable and hard to remove. You can't simply force it out with another toothpick if it is stuck fast.
Floss generally doesn't get stuck between your teeth. Very rarely, it might break, leaving you with a small amount of floss in a gap. However, you can usually remove this piece by simply using new floss to clean out the gap again.
Floss Won't Damage Your Teeth and Gums
Toothpicks can damage your teeth and gums. For example, if a pick isn't completely clean, then it could lodge bacteria in your mouth where it can do some harm.
Plus, you're more likely to prick your gums and make them bleed if you use a toothpick. Its pointed edges can cause damage. Again, this can give you problems with bacteria and even infections.
The fact that toothpicks are hard is also a problem if you use them around dental work such as fillings. If you put too much pressure on a filling, then it might crack or break.
Floss is more hygienic. If you use new floss every time you clean between your teeth, then you shouldn't have problems with germs. Plus, floss is soft and pliable. As long as you use it correctly, it shouldn't damage your gums or dental work.
If you think that you might have some damage from using a toothpick, then make an appointment at your dental office. Your dentist can also help you choose a floss for future cleaning.