Floss vs. toothpicks for removing food particles?

Food particles that become trapped between teeth can contribute to bad breath, cavities, and periodontal disease. This is why dentists stress the importance of flossing the teeth at least once a day. But what should you use to remove food stuck in the teeth? The biggest debate is that between flossing vs. toothpicks! Dr. Thomas J. DeStefano and his team will find that there are some variations in the recommendations depending on the situation at hand.

Accessibility to floss

Not everyone carries floss with them when they are out and about, so in situations where patients are eating food at a restaurant or a family barbeque, a toothpick may be more readily available than floss. In a situation such as this, a toothpick might be best to get that piece of corn from between the teeth or the oregano from dinner.

Why should I avoid toothpicks?

In situations where floss is available, such as a family meal at home, toothpicks should be avoided. But why? Toothpicks are not gentle enough to be used on the gums. Additionally, because of the way they are designed, they might even cause piercing of the gum tissue or push food further in-between the teeth if used incorrectly. Instead, it is recommended that if floss is not readily available, consider the use of a floss pick or a soft pick. These are better designed to be effective yet safer for the gums, and are both portable and convenient. They can be placed in a wallet or purse and made easily accessible when needed in public social situations.

Which is best?

Ultimately, floss is best, and should be done at least once a day along with routine brushing and dental visits. However, there are times when patients may have better access to a toothpick, and by using great care in removing food particles, can be a viable second choice.

Discuss your dental needs with Dr. Thomas J. DeStefano today!

Call (585) 248-2383 today to request an appointment at 600 Kreag Road. Our team of professionals work with new and established patients and families who are looking for general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry solutions.  

Posted in: Dental Care, Family Dentistry

Leave a response

Get in touch

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



DeStefano Dentistry

600 Kreag Rd
Pittsford, NY 14534

Tel: 585.248.2383