When you go to a restaurant, you may grab a tooth pick they have at the counter as you leave. Toothpicks are a common thing found in everyone's kitchen. They can play an important role and can do many good things when it comes to food.
Whether it is holding pieces of food together as they cook or to pick up a meatball without using your fingers, toothpicks have a place. Other than putting the food in your mouth, there is no reason for a toothpick to go near your teeth and gums.
How People Use a Toothpick
People use toothpicks for many reasons, but the one that is most dangerous is when people try to use the toothpick to get something that is stuck in their teeth out. The grab this sharp little piece of wood and start jabbing blindly in their mouth. It is a recipe for danger. There are much better and safer ways to get any debris stuck between your teeth and gums out than stabbing at it with a toothpick.
What Can Happen? The response that many give when told they should not use a toothpick is why not? They will talk about how everyone does it and that they have done it for a long time without any problems. This may or may not be the case. It is easy to nick the gums and cause bleeding for a little while. The bleeding will stop, but there is now an open sore that bacteria can grow in.
People also use toothpicks to get any debris below the gums. They take a stiff piece of wood and wedge it between the teeth and gums with the idea of removing any plaque buildup. It may help a little, but the damage caused is probably more troublesome than anything that gets removed.
Very few people would take a knife and stab around their mouth to try and clean it. That is essentially what a toothpick does. Because of the possible problems, we tell people that they should never use a toothpick around their teeth and gums.
For more information about this or any other oral health issue, contact our office to schedule an appointment.