Sometimes patients have trouble mastering flossing, but still need to find a way to clean plaque from the intraproximal surfaces (the sides of the teeth) of their teeth.  Often stimudents offer an easy to use solution.  Stimudents are orange wood tooth pick manufactured by Johnson and Johnson, which are triangular in profile and can be used effectively and easily to remove introproximal plaque.

When using a stimudent, it is held perpendicular to the teeth and pushed in between with some light pressure.  The pointy part of the stimudent is oriented away from the gums.  The Stimudent is inserted three times for each intraproximal area and each time it goes in slightly further.  Care should be taken not to “stab” the gums, but to place the tip of the stimudent in between  the tip of the gum and the contact area of the teeth involved.  Stimudents are made from a soft wood (orange wood) and conform well to the teeth surfaces and tend to do an excellent job at cleaning intraproximally.  They are packaged in a small package about the size of a matchbook and can be easily carried around in a pocket and eased after eating.  Many  patients prefer them to using floss. Another alternative to flossing is a proxabrush, but it has the disadvantage that it can’t be easily carried around in a pocket like stimudents and it doesn’t clean in tight intraproximal spaces that don’t have recession.