3 Ways Toothpicks Can be Dangerous for your Teeth
February 28, 2023
When you’ve just finished a big meal, it’s natural to want to clean some of the more unsightly leftovers out from between the teeth. Often, people use a toothpick to do that; they can get the job done well, and are portable enough to carry anywhere.
However, most dentists will tell you that toothpicks will absolutely do more harm than good for your teeth. There are quite a few ways that using one can result in a dental emergency if you’re even a little careless. Here are a few examples.
How Can Toothpicks Damage your Mouth?
Toothpicks may seem convenient, but the fact is that they can do some serious damage to your smile in a variety of ways:
- Breaking: Toothpicks, especially cheap ones, have a chance of breaking between your teeth and getting lodged in your gums. As you may imagine, splintery gums can be pretty uncomfortable.
- Lacerations: If you aren’t careful, it’s also possible to accidentally injure your gums, tongue, or palette with a toothpick. In some cases, they have even been known to stab into the roof of the mouth.
- Infection: Even if the toothpick doesn’t seriously damage your mouth, they aren’t exactly sanitary. Poking a toothpick deep into your gums can transfer any bacteria from the tip of it under the gum line, increasing your chances of developing an infection.
- Dental Work: If you have fillings or veneers, it’s possible to accidentally pry them off of your teeth as you use the toothpick.
What to Use Instead of Toothpicks
If you’re looking to clean your smile without any risk of damage, there are a few tooth-healthy alternatives you can try. The first, of course, is dental floss. Not only is it safer, but you can get deeper between your teeth than you can with a toothpick.
That said, if you really like the feel of a toothpick, you might prefer an interdental brush. These are specially designed to slide between your teeth and pick things out, but are made of a much safer and more durable plastic than a wooden toothpick.
About the Author
Dr. Bita Kamali is a dentist who truly loves her work, and feels proud to offer her patients the highest level of care possible. When people visit her office, they can see those things from the moment they meet her. Dr. Kamali graduated from the Baylor College of Dentistry, and in the 20 years since she’s learned from experience how to deal with a wide variety of oral health problems.
If you have any questions about how to properly clean your teeth, she can be reached at her website or by phone at (972) 818-1300.