Why Toothpick Use Can Harm Teeth and Gums

Often you see a toothpick jabbed in the middle of a sandwich or some hors d’oeuvres. But as its name indicates, its original purpose was to pick and clean teeth. However, most dentists advise against using toothpicks for cleaning your pearly whites, and here is why.

Toothpicks Can Damage Gums

Dentists say that if there is no toothbrush and floss available, then you can use a toothpick to gently clean your teeth. But if a toothpick is used with less care and more vigor, you could lacerate your gums.

Toothpicks Can Damage Teeth

You would think that the hard enamel of your teeth could sustain any lasting damage from a small splinter of wood. However, frequent toothpick use can create fractures on tooth enamel, dental restorations, or even tooth roots if they are exposed. Also, chewing on toothpicks and other hard, non-food items can cause teeth to shift and crack.

Toothpicks Can’t Clean Teeth Very Well

From ancient times to more recent ones, people used toothpicks to clean their teeth. But this was before toothbrushes and floss were around, which are now the recommended method for teeth cleaning. Brushing and flossing your teeth will always do a better cleaning job than poking a stick around your mouth.