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3 Ways that Toothpicks Can Be Dangerous

February 7, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — ecodental @ 5:33 pm
Person holding a toothpick and covering their mouth

When you’ve just finished with a plate of ribs or a bucket of popcorn, it’s natural to want to clean between your teeth as quickly as possible. Many people reach for a toothpick to do that; after all, they’re portable enough to use anywhere.

However, toothpicks are typically not recommended by dentists for cleaning between teeth. If you want to know why that is, and what you should use instead, here’s a guide that can offer you an explanation.

Why Shouldn’t I Use a Toothpick?

Toothpicks are capable of cleaning pretty effectively between the teeth, but they can be dangerous for quite a few reasons. It’s not uncommon for patients to need emergency treatment as a result of a mishap involving one. Here are a few ways toothpicks can damage your mouth:

Broken Toothpick

The first issue may be the most graphic—toothpicks, especially poorly made ones, can break and get lodged in the gums. This can lead to a fair amount of discomfort and inflammation, which is usually what sends people to get help from an emergency dentist.


In a similar vein, toothpicks can potentially cut or puncture your gums if you aren’t careful. This damage can be severe, but the cuts you don’t notice could be just as much of a problem. Small lacerations allow bacteria to seep into the gums, causing an infection. In some cases, these bacteria can even come from the toothpick itself.

Loose Dental Work

If you have veneers or fillings that are a little on the old side, there may be a small gap between them and your natural tooth. A toothpick can potentially get wedged in your dental work and dislodge it, requiring a trip to the dentist.

What to Use Instead

If you find yourself in need of something to clean between your teeth, there are a few things you can try that carry a little bit less risk. Dental floss is portable enough to use on the go, as are plastic floss sticks.

If you’d like, an oral irrigator like a WaterPik can also be an effective method of cleaning between your teeth, albeit significantly less portable.

If you are interested in cleaning between your teeth then your heart is in the right place; it’s just a good idea to make sure that you don’t use something that’ll do more harm than good.

About Our Practice

At Eco Dental, we believe that dentistry is about more than just treating disease. We’re proud to not only offer our patients the highest quality of dentistry possible, but also to treat them with the care and respect that they deserve. As a result, you’ll be able to get the smile of your dreams in an environment that will keep you comfortable.

If you have any questions about the best way to keep your teeth clean, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (281) 491-9494.

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