Toothpicks should not be used to remove food between the teeth. Always use floss to remove stuck food and plaque. Toothpicks can break or cause an infection. Therefore, you should never use them to clean away food between the teeth. The following 3 reasons elaborate on why toothpicks should not be used for removing stuck food.
1. Toothpicks Can Break
Most toothpicks are made of wood and can break off and splinter. When this happens, the splinter can lodge between the gums, defeating the whole purpose of removing the food in the first place.
2. Toothpicks Can Damage the Gums
When you use toothpicks to clean between the teeth, you can also damage the gums. If this happens, you may scratch the gum tissue and cause an infection. By using a toothpick to remove food, you can end up having a major dental issue. The best way to remove food is to floss, guiding the floss gently. The floss can get between the teeth more easily, and will also remove the plaque. You won't be able to do this if you only use a toothpick.
3. Toothpicks Can Damage Dental Restorations
Toothpicks also can damage dental work, such as veneers, bridges, fillings, and crowns, especially if you use too much force. Again, the most effective way to remove food is by using floss. You can even use a floss pick, something that you can carry with you while on-the-go or eating in a restaurant. Flossing, when done properly, is a gentler and kinder way to take care of your gums and teeth. Use toothpicks for hors d'oeuvres, not for cleaning between your teeth.
How do you remove food between the teeth? If you are using toothpicks instead of floss, you need to make a switch. Contact our dental team, as well, if you have not had a cleaning and exam in the last 6 months. Schedule an appointment today. We can fit you in at a convenient time and day.