5 Reasons Your Should Stop Using Toothpicks

You can find toothpicks everywhere, from restaurants to your kitchen jumble drawer. Since they are everywhere, it is assumed that these little sticks are safe. But your local Billings dentists are here to give you five reasons why you should stop using toothpicks starting today.

1. Gum Tissue Can Be Damaged

A toothpick is just a small, shaped stick of wood, and most people have no problem jamming that piece of wood into their gums. We wouldn’t stab ourselves with a sliver of wood in other circumstances, but that’s often what happens when toothpicks are used.

Not only is it painful to slip when using a toothpick, but you also can cut your gums and leave an injury that takes a painful amount of time to heal.

2. Wooden Toothpicks Can Splinter

Wooden toothpicks have the potential to splinter as you use them. As wooden toothpicks are cut out of thin sheets of wood, they have the ability to shred as you use them, as they are not sealed in their shape.

And if there is somewhere you don’t want to get a splinter, it’s in your sensitive gums. Also, if you do end up with a splinter, it can be incredibility difficult to get it out, especially if it becomes lodged near your teeth.

3. Toothpicks Can Invite Bacteria And Infection

Even if you manage to avoid toothpick splinters and obvious cuts, toothpicks can still invite bacteria and infection.

Consider this—you pick out a stubborn kernel of popcorn with a toothpick, and your gums take a micro-tear. It isn’t enough for you to see any bleeding, and any pain is covered up with the relief that the irritating food is out. But the tiny cut is still there.

That cut can become infected by the bacteria that live in your mouth, causing significant amounts of pain and may require medical intervention to clear up the infection.

4. Food Can Be Pushed In Deeper

Counter-productive to using a toothpick, this device can actually wedge the food deeper in-between your teeth, rather than help fish it out. If food does become further trapped, it can attract more bacteria to help break it down, which can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and other dental issues that will require our dental services to correct.

5. Rough Use Can Crack Weakened Teeth

Should there be a cavity developing that has weakened your teeth, using a toothpick roughly can cause a crack to appear. Not only is it painful, but it can take a small cavity and turn it into a serious problem.

What To Use Instead Of Toothpicks

If you are ready to swear off of toothpicks but aren’t sure what to use instead, but you still want something to help you get things out from between, consider using these things instead:

  • Plastic toothpicks – The issues of splintering can be negated by using plastic toothpicks, though if you are rough when you use them, you can still cut your gums.
  • Floss – Using floss is one of the best ways to remove stuck food. This dentist-approved tool can safely move between your gums and teeth without the issues that toothpicks cause.
  • Floss toothpick combos – If you don’t want to pull out a string of floss out when you are out and about, you can use a pre-strung floss that also comes with a pick.
  • Small travel toothbrush – Along with floss, using a small travel toothbrush is a safe way to remove trapped food from between your teeth.

Coming in for your regular dental cleaning is one of the best ways to be sure that your oral health hasn’t been damaged by toothpicks. To schedule a dental cleaning appointment, feel free to contact us today!

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