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When to Avoid Using a Toothpick

Posted on 10/25/2016 by Mark Bieber
A man using a tooth pick to clean his teeth.
A toothpick can be a great tool for removing food particles, popcorn husks, or other sediment from between your teeth, especially when they are too stubborn for a toothbrush (or you are unable to brush at that moment for some reason).

However, there are times when you should probably hold off on using a toothpick for the sake of your gums.

If Your Gums Are Overly Sensitive, Skip The Toothpick

Sometimes your gums are more sensitive than others. This is especially true if you are currently fighting a battle against the beginning stages of gum disease. If that is your situation, using a toothpick could potentially damage the tender gums. It's better to use dental floss if you can.

If You Are Recovering From An Extraction Or Other Dental Procedure

If you just had a tooth extracted, remember that your gums need time to heal. It's better to be very gentle around the area and limit your probing for a few days to give your mouth the time it needs to recover.

If Your Enamel Is Weakened

Some people have teeth with naturally weak enamel. Remember that when you use a toothpick there is a significant amount of abrasion that is taking place. If your enamel is weak, this abrasion could actually begin to wear down the tooth enamel and promote decay.

Rather than relying on a toothpick, it may be a better idea to keep some dental floss around. Dental floss is widely available and very cheap, so you can buy several packages. Toss on in your desk drawer at work, another in your glove box (but do NOT floss and drive at the same time) and keep another one in your purse or pocket. Give your teeth and gums a break, and if any of the above situations fit you, reach for dental floss instead.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your oral health.

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