Whether you just finished your corn on the cob or some BBQ ribs, you are bound to have some food debris left behind in your teeth. Toothpicks may seem like a handy tool in this time of need, but they aren’t necessarily the best option. In fact, they can cause more harm than good, as they pose a variety of risks. Continue reading to learn about the dangers of toothpicks and some safer ways you can dislodge food from between your teeth.
What Are the Dangers of Toothpicks?
How harmful can toothpicks really be? Quite a bit actually. Here are some of the risks that you could be looking at:
- Toothpicks Can Break: Whether it is poorly made, or you are using it too harshly, a toothpick can easily break or splinter and get lodged in your gums. This can mean inflammation and even infection if the issue isn’t dealt with promptly.
- Toothpicks May Cause Infection: Toothpicks are pointy, so they can easily puncture your gums. Any open wound in the mouth is vulnerable to infection-causing bacteria.
- Toothpicks Can Damage Restorations: If you have a veneer, filling, or dental crown, it could be in trouble if you are using toothpicks too often. If there is any small issue or gap in an existing dental restoration, it can be loosened or fractured by the toothpick.
- Toothpicks May Cause Gaps: If you’re using toothpicks frequently, this can create additional space between your teeth for food debris and plaque to collect.
How Else Can You Remove Food Debris from Between Your Teeth?
Instead of reaching for a toothpick after a meal, consider using the following methods:
- Rinse with Water: By swishing water around your mouth, you may be able to wash away food that got left behind during your meal.
- Use Dental Floss: Floss is a highly effective way to remove food debris, plaque, and bacteria from between the teeth and beneath the gum line. Floss sticks are also available for easier use and added convenience.
- Waterpik: This method uses a high-pressure water stream to dislodge food and other particles from between the teeth. This method is particularly useful for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment or with limited mobility.
You don’t need to rely on toothpicks to keep your teeth clean. They may be causing more harm than good! By using the alternative methods above, your smile will thank you!
About the Author
Dr. Donna Franklin-Pitts earned her dental doctorate from Howard University in Washington D.C. Currently, she is a proud member of the American Dental Association, Smith County Dental Society, East Texas Dental Society, Texas Dental Association, and more! For more information or to schedule an appointment at her office in Tyler, visit her website or call (903) 730-6314.