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Aerial view of a wooden toothpicks

Are Toothpicks Safe?

May 28, 2020 5:19 pm

We’ve all been there before: you’ve enjoyed a nice meal or snack when you realize there is a piece of food stuck in your teeth for all to see. Yikes! While we certainly understand the urge to remove the food as quickly as possible, we recommend you reach for a string of dental floss or a floss pick instead of a toothpick.

Read on to learn about why we do not recommend using toothpicks.

Safety Risks of Toothpicks

Using a toothpick can increase your risk of gum irritation and oral infection. Depending on how the toothpick is stored, it can be unsterile and introduce bacteria into your mouth. A toothpick can also puncture your gums and push food particles and bacteria farther under the gumline or between the teeth. Gums are easily irritated and chronic use of toothpicks can lead to gum recession and tooth sensitivity.

Additionally, a toothpick can splinter into tiny pieces that damage your tongue, cheeks, gums, and the roof of your mouth. Toothpicks are a choking hazard, especially for children, and can damage the digestive system if swallowed.

Toothpick Alternatives

To prepare for removing food from between your teeth while on-the-go, store a pack of string floss or a few floss picks in your purse, backpack, or car. In a pinch, vigorously swishing with water can also sometimes dislodge food particles.

A blue container of string floss next to a hand holding up a white floss pick as toothpick alternatives

Orthodontics in Laredo, TX

Certain foods are notorious for getting stuck in teeth, such as corn kernels, meat, spinach, and seeds. But if you’re constantly having to remove bits of food from between your teeth, it may be a sign that your teeth have a spacing issue.

Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics offers orthodontics for elementary-age children, teens, and adults in Laredo, TX. If you’re interested in metal braces, ceramic braces, or Invisalign®, contact us to schedule a consultation with our team.

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Toothpick Photo by Syed Abdullah on Pexels & Floss Pick Photo by McKinsey on Rawpixel


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