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Why Toothpicks are Dangerous—and What to Use Instead

April 7, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — peeryfamily @ 3:54 pm
someone holding a toothpick and covering their mouth

When you’ve finished a big meal, you probably want to reach for whatever you can to get any leftover gunk out of your teeth. A lot of the time, that’s a toothpick—plenty of people carry them around, and restaurants often keep them by the front exit.

However, the uncomfortable truth is that toothpicks can do more harm than good. If you’re wondering why that could be the case, here are a few reasons these tools can be dangerous. 

Why Are Toothpicks a Problem?

As convenient as toothpicks are, there are quite a few ways that using them can go wrong. In the worst cases, using a toothpick can even lead to a dental emergency that requires immediate attention.

For one, most toothpicks are manufactured in bulk, meaning that they often aren’t constructed very well. That means that there’s often a chance that the toothpicks will splinter, getting lodged in the gums or the teeth.

However, this is only the beginning. Even if the toothpick itself doesn’t break, there’s always a serious possibility that you could slip while cleaning and slice the soft tissue in your mouth. In the worst cases, it’s even possible for the toothpick to puncture the tongue or palette.

What to Use Instead

While these risks are serious, the instinct to want to clean up after a meal is a good one. Thankfully, there are plenty of safer ways to do that than toothpicks.

Dental floss is likely one of the first to come to mind. When used properly it’s completely safe, and it comes in a small enough package to take anywhere. It’s also much more adept at getting in between the teeth than toothpicks are, meaning you can probably get a deeper clean than you could otherwise.

However, if you feel like floss is a little too finicky, you might prefer flossers. These are small plastic “y”s with a small strip of floss between the tines, offering the cleaning power of floss much more conveniently.

Finally, if you really love the feeling of a toothpick, you might be a fan of interdental brushes. These are small plastic or metal twigs designed to slide between the teeth safely, providing you with a much deeper and safer clean than what a toothpick can give you.

About Our Practice

At Peery & Woolwine Family Dentistry, we make it our mission to help everyone in your family get the highest quality dental care available anywhere. More than that, we have taken active measures to make our office as comfortable as possible, with a friendly dental staff that will make your family feel like part of ours. No matter who you are, we’re confident that we can help you with your issues!

If you have any questions about how best to clean your teeth, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (434) 847-5331.

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