Hello Dr. Myerson,

So much is said about the benefits of flossing—and yet it too presents its own dangers. I've always found it curious, however, how I have not once heard anything authoritative, one way or the other, on the use of toothpicks. (The old-fashioned wooden kind.)The social aspects of their use being a thing aside, my mouth always feels particularly clean after a good ol' picking.

Got an opinion?


Anything that can help keep the teeth clean without causing damage is right with me.  I've seen aggressive toothbrushing result in damage to the teeth and gums, and I've seen dental floss cut through gum tissue.  There was a time that you could purchase a plastic handle that had a hole in it for inserting a round toothpick so that it could be used as a tooth cleaning implement.


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Dr. Randolph Myerson


Please limit your inquiry to questions about orthodontics (braces) and children's dentistry. I am both an Orthodontist and a Pediatric Dentist, having been trained in both of these dental specialty fields. Orthodontics is the dental specialty that treats problems of tooth, bite and jaw alignment using braces and removable appliances. Pediatric Dentistry is the dental specialty also known as dentistry for children, which deals specifically with the dental problems of this special age group from infants to adolescents. I am also experienced in Forensic Dentistry, the application of dentistry to law enforcement and identification using dental records.


I have been in the private practice of orthodontics and pediatric dentistry for over 20 years. Prior to that I served for three years on the Cleft Palate and Cranio-facial Reconstruction team at Children''s Hospital of Philadelphia and was an Assistant Professor of Dentistry at University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. I also served as a dentist in the U.S.Air Force, stationed at Andrews AFB in Washington, DC.

I am a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and a member of the American Association of Orthodontics, as well as a member of the American Dental Association and the Dental Society of the State of New York.

I received my BA in Biology from Frankin & Marshall College in 1969, and my dental degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 1973. In 1978 I received both my Certificate in Orthodontics from University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, and my Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry from Children''s Hospital of Philadelphia after completing a three year Teaching Fellowship in Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry in 1978.

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