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1524 Commercial St S.E. Salem, OR 97302
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Toothpicks Should Not Be Used Unless Necessary, Here's Why

Posted on 2/10/2019 by Fairmount Dental Center
Toothpicks Should Not Be Used Unless Necessary, Here's WhyAt some point or another, we've all had food stuck in our teeth. When it happens while you're with other people, your first instinct may be to grab a toothpick and get that annoying bit of food out.

But we actually stress to our patients that toothpicks aren't a good option. There are better ways of removing stuck food that won't cause damage to your teeth.

What Can a Toothpick Do to Your Teeth?

There are a few different ways a toothpick can damage your teeth. First, if you're not careful, you could actually cut your gum with the sharp point of the toothpick. This can create an opening for bacteria to get into the gum. That can easily lead to infection and gum disease.

Another risk is that you could actually break off a bit of the toothpick. It could get stuck in your gums. Now you have a way for bacteria to infect you plus something else stuck in your mouth. You may end up causing even more damage as you use another toothpick to remove the broken part. If the wound is too bad, your mouth is likely to bleed for several minutes.

Other Options
Instead of using a toothpick, we have a few better options. First, you can floss. Flossing is perfect for getting rid of things stuck in your teeth, plus it cleans out plaque and other harmful bacteria. You should floss once a day, anyway, so you might as well do your entire mouth while you're getting that piece of food out.

Another option is to use a water pick. This device actually shoots out a small stream of water. It can be used to remove stuck food and even clean your teeth, but it's not a replacement for brushing or for flossing. However, it is much safer to use than a toothpick if you have particles of food stuck in your teeth.

If you have used a toothpick for years and have noticed some problems with your gums, give us a call today. We'll examine the damage and help you decide what to do if your gums need more attention.
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