Toothpicks have been around for centuries. Originally made of wood they are now also made of plastic. Toothpicks have been used by every culture and on every continent. Toothpicks are generally used to get at the bits of food that get trapped between your teeth.
Frequently your toothbrush can't budge these particles and they not only become irritating they become a medium for tooth decaying bacteria. This leads to cavities between your teeth, which are difficult for you to detect and can cause far more expense by the time they are discovered. An annual visit to your dentist that includes x-rays will go a long way towards early detection and conservative treatment.
Danger Number 1
When you use a toothpick to get food particles from in between your teeth you have to be very careful about how you maneuver the toothpick. If you start poking downward towards your gums you will irritate them and possibly cause them to bleed. Once your gums are irritated, they can invite bacteria that can cause gingivitis. The resulting inflammation will cause pain and may require medication to resolve.
Danger Number 2
When you are aggressively trying to get the food particles out you may end up breaking the toothpick, particularly if it's a wooden toothpick. This sliver can get stuck in between your teeth or you could end up swallowing it. It would be better to use the plastic variety, if you must use toothpicks, but be careful because they can break too. The difference is they don't sliver like wood.
Danger Number 3
The final danger of using toothpicks is that you may not be using them properly and can cause more harm than good. People tend to point the toothpick towards the gums, which puts the gums at risk. Sometimes people try to wedge the toothpick between the teeth, though the space clearly isn't big enough.
This can also cause you problems. In addition, if you are too aggressive, you may wear down or damage the enamel leaving yourself open to dental caries.
Please contact our office if you have any questions about using toothpicks.