The Role of the Dental Pick for Plaque Removal

Keeping your teeth shiny and white isn’t as simple as brushing. Plaque is the enemy of a healthy smile. Preventing plaque from collecting on your teeth at the gumline is the role of a dental pick. Ask your dentist if you should add it to your dental care kit but in the meantime, here’s what you need to know!

What is Plaque?

A soft sticky film that collects on teeth at the gumline, plaque hardens into a stiff layer called tarter. Tartar can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. If plaque is not removed on a regular basis it will collect along the gumline and cause cavities, gingivitis and gum disease. Cavities can form when plaque acids attack teeth, breaking down tooth enamel. In extreme cases tooth decay can cause pain.

How is Plaque Removed?

Flossing daily will help to remove plaque from the surface and in between teeth, but some people find it hard to use dental floss. An alternative to flossing is using a dental pick.

How do Dental Picks Work?

A dental pick is a thin stick made of wood or plastic. Keep in mind any product you use for oral care should have the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Approval. Once recommended and ready to use:

  1. Insert into your mouth – be sure to moisten it  and soften it in your mouth first for wood picks.
  2. Make sure the narrow flat part is adjacent to the gums.
  3. Use a gentle motion to remove food debris and plaque from between your teeth.
  4. Don’t ever force the pick into tight teeth.

For those wearing braces:

  1. The pick allows for more maneuverability than floss in between teeth.
  2. Floss is however a better choice for cleaning between teeth and gums.
  3. If the pick dislodges food and particles, they will be on the pick when inserted into the next tooth, spreading bacteria.
  4. Be sure to wipe pick off after each tooth.

Whether you choose dental floss or dental picks, the most important thing is your oral care. Brushing twice a day and floss at least once. Using a fluoride toothpaste will also help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. Be sure to have regular semi-annual dental check-ups at your dentist. Your dentist will be able to verify that you are taking proper care of your teeth and gums while also identifying any potential bigger health issues.

For more articles on dental health, see our main blog


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