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Tooth Picks – Can it be used ?

tooth picks

It is very common to use tooth picks to remove the food particles that gets stuck between the teeth. In my practice a lot of patients keep asking me if tooth picks can be used and my recommendations regarding the same.

Usage of toothpicks in my opinion is not recommended. There are multiple reasons why a tooth pick should not be used in which a few of them are life threatening.

  • Tooth picks when used do not remove the food debris completely instead they tend to push a portion of debris between the gums and the teeth making it inaccessible for the tooth brush to remove.
  • Tooth picks are commonly used between the gums and the teeth during which there are high chances for trauma or injury to the gums which presents as Gingival abscess.
  • Constant use of tooth picks tends to produce gaps between the teeth causing increase in food accumulation and discomfort.

Chronic tooth picking habit causes irritation to the gums which leads to gum recession thereby exposing dentinal tubules which leads to sensitivity teeth.

In rare cases accidental swallowing of tooth pick or a broken fragment of tooth pick happens which is potentially life threatening and cause choking, perforation of the GI tract or even death.

In my experience I have recently come across one such rare case after which I have decided to write this article.

Speaking on the alternative remedies to remove the food particles stuck between the teeth are:

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Mouth Rinsing
  • Using water irrigating devices
  • Visit your dentist

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