Using toothpicks is not an ideal way to remove something stuck between your teeth. They can cause abrasion and damage to your teeth at the base, where they meet the gums. This can lead to gum disease and other dental problems.
It is a common practice for some people to use a tooth pick every after a meal whether it is at the restaurant or in their homes. Like your toothbrush, many people argue that tooth picks can significantly benefit you if used with care.
According to Dr Patrick Kyagulanyi, a dental surgeon at Dental Solutions, when used excessively or improperly, toothpicks might scrape or damage your sensitive gum tissue. Since toothpicks are limited in their ability to reach between your teeth, dentists recommend relying on dental floss.
However, receding of gums is another cause that can lead to creation of space between your teeth. This recession can be as a result of poor brushing methods and having a gum disease.
He says, “Some foods are notorious for sticking between teeth, but if you constantly find yourself picking food from your teeth, then you may have a problem. Dentists can easily examine your teeth for improper spacing, or cavities or holes that allow food and bacteria to gather inside of them.”
Should you use a tooth pick?
A toothpick could cause quite some damage to your gums whether it is made of wood or the modern plastic ones. A toothpick may not be damaging to the teeth, but the gums take a battering when one uses the toothpick too aggressively.
He says, “A tooth pick should only be used to dislodge large food particles between teeth. Place the tip of the toothpick near the gum line and point it towards the chewing or top edge of the tooth. Do not point into the gums. Gently lift the particle out and away from you. Do not push the pick all the way between your teeth. You will do more harm.”
It should be used in a way so that the gums or teeth are not harmed. If you have large spaces where food gets caught constantly you can talk to your dentist about ways to close them.
A toothpick should never take the place of floss. Floss is more effective in removing the plaque that forms between teeth and should be part of your daily oral hygiene routine.
Although dental floss is generally more effective than toothpicks, it can also damage your teeth and gums if not used properly.
“For proper use of dental floss; wrap each end of a length of floss around your index fingers, and use your thumbs for leverage as you carefully manoeuver the floss between your teeth. Angle the floss around the side of one tooth and gently move it up and down repeating the movement,” says Dr Kyagulanyi.