The sports category has moved to a new website.

6 ways using toothpicks incorrectly could make your dental health worse

Misuse of toothpicks could see one spend a lot of time and money on dentists due to its effects

A man using a toothpick

When it comes to maintaining oral hygiene, most of us have been taught to brush after every meal our teeth after every meal, floss and use mouthwash regularly.

However while some indivinduals brush after every meal, there are othes that use toothpicks after every meal.

While toothpicks may seem like a handy tool for cleaning between teeth and removing food particles, dental experts have cautioned against their use.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why you should avoid using toothpicks and consider alternative oral care practices.


Toothpicks, especially those made of wood or hard plastic, can be sharp and rough around the edges.

Frequent use can lead to accidental injury and cause damage to sensitive gum tissues, leading to irritation, bleeding, and potential infections.

Vigorous or careless use of toothpicks can lead to enamel erosion. Tooth enamel is the protective outer layer of teeth, and any damage to it can increase the risk of tooth sensitivity, cavities, and other dental issues.


The tooth enamel strengthens teeth and therefore its erosion leads to having weak teeth which would you avoid some foods.

Consistent use of toothpicks can contribute to gum recession, a condition where the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, exposing the tooth roots.

Gum recession can lead to heightened sensitivity, increased vulnerability to gum disease, and a less pleasing smile.


In addition to harming gum tissues, toothpicks can also damage tooth surfaces.

The excessive force applied during cleaning may cause chips, cracks, or fractures in the teeth, requiring costly dental treatments to repair.

While toothpicks may seem helpful for removing food particles stuck between teeth, they are not as effective as dental floss or interdental brushes.


Toothpicks often push plaque further between teeth rather than effectively removing it.

A pile up of these foods particles leads to infections and sometimes bad breath.

Toothpicks are small and easily breakable, making them a choking hazard if accidentally swallowed.

Ingesting a toothpick can lead to serious health issues, requiring immediate medical attention.


Reusing toothpicks increases the risk of transferring oral bacteria, potentially leading to infections in the mouth.

Toothpicks are not sterile, and the spread of harmful bacteria can exacerbate existing dental problems.


Regular flossing is essential for cleaning between teeth where toothbrushes cannot reach.

Dental floss is gentle on gum tissues and effectively removes plaque and food particles.

Interdental brushes come in various sizes and shapes, making them suitable for different gaps between teeth.


They are effective in removing plaque and debris from interdental spaces.

These dental tools are designed to be gentle on gums while effectively removing food particles between teeth. They are convenient and disposable, reducing the risk of spreading oral infections.


Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: