Instructions for Use of Woodsticks

Most adults have sufficient space available between the incisors and molars to allow woodsticks to be used. These sticks come in differing thicknesses, they are made from wood, and they have a triangular cross‐section, mimicking the shape of the space between the teeth. Woodsticks can only be used once and are ideal for use when you have a few spare moments – for example, when sitting in traffic!

Instructions

Hold the woodstick firmly between the thumb and first finger, roughly halfway along its length. When possible, place the other fingers for support on the chin. Moisten the tip of the woodstick by sucking on the point of it, thus making it softer and more flexible.

Place the flat side of the woodstick (i.e. not the sharp side) against the gum. In the upper jaw, the flat surface will face upward, and in the lower jaw, it will face downward.

Push the woodstick firmly from the outer side of the space into the space until the stick just becomes wedged. Then, pull it back slightly, and push it back once again, using a light, sawing motion at right angles to the outer surfaces of the teeth. Light pressure can also be applied simultaneously to the gums. Repeat this action a few times, angling the woodstick to contact the surfaces of the teeth enclosing the space.

When using a woodstick between the premolars and molars, close the mouth slightly to reduce tension in the cheeks, thus making the movements easier.

With this method, all of the spaces between the teeth throughout the mouth can be cleaned. Should the woodstick prick the surface of the gums with the point, angle it a little differently – in the upper jaw, the point will face downward, and in the lower jaw, it will face upward. Do not be concerned if your gums bleed a little at first – this bleeding will disappear after using the woodsticks repeatedly for a period of time. Do not give up!