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How many times have you picked up a toothpick instinctively, and used it to remove stuff stuck in your teeth? Has it ever irritated your gums? Or are you comfortable enough to use it? Well, whatever your preference may be, it’s time to break it to you that toothpicks are particularly harmful for your oral health. No, we are not kidding. This harmless habit can be potentially dangerous for your teeth and gums.
But why is that so? Let our experts tell you more about it.
Dr Anjana Satyajit, Head, Dentistry, Artemis Hospitals, Gurugram shares with HealthShots, “Toothpicks can cause damage to oral health. First of all, it can cause a bunch of wounds, because the tip is very sharp and can infect the gums. It can also break, because it is delicate and can get lost between the teeth. Its prolonged use can cause gum recession, and can increase the interdental pocket size. Plus, it can expose the roots, and can damage your oral health. In a nutshell, its frequent use can create fractures on the tooth and canal.”
Dr Reshma Suresh, Reader, Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi, reveals that it is best to steer clear of toothpicks for the following reasons:
1. The piece of wood (of the toothpick) can break off and get lodged in the gum tissue. If not removed in time, it can also cause inflammation in your gums. This can be particularly dangerous and painful.
2. Non-sterile toothpicks can attract dirt, water, bacteria and other debris to coat it. You may end up with infections that are not very easy to handle!
3. Frequent use of toothpicks can cause injury to the gum tissue, resulting in bleeding and ulceration, as well as bacterial colonization.
4. Undue force on the teeth creates movement, and can cause further damage, especially if you have fillings and veneers.
5. Improper usage of toothpicks can lead to receding gums and tooth sensitivity.
Here’s what Dr Suresh has to say, “Though it is harmful for oral health, it is advisable to use a toothpick with proper table manners. An alternative suggested by the American Dental Association is Stim-U-Dent (a type of wooden interdental aid). The use of dental floss,interdental brushes, and waterpiks are preferred aids for interdental cleansing.”
So, ditch the habit of using toothpicks for the sake of your oral health!