307 Grafton St #203, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Save Toothpicks for Non-Dental Pursuits

Are you the type of person who likes to grab a toothpick after a meal to clean out your teeth? With a name like toothpicks, what else are you supposed to do with them, right? In fact, you really shouldn’t consider poking so close to your gum tissues with anything sharp. Sure, your dental hygienist uses pointy instruments to clean your teeth, but she is highly trained. Cleaning out the crevices of household items, or participating in crafts are better uses for toothpicks if you want to keep your sensitive oral tissues safe.

Toothpicks are Great for Baking

Other uses for toothpicks might include checking for completion when you bake something like a cake or brownies. When you plunge a toothpick into a baked good and it comes out caked in batter, you know that you still have a few minutes to go in the oven. However, poking a pan of brownies is one thing. Poking yourself in your gums is another thing entirely. You may say, “I’ve been using toothpicks for years, and have never had an issue.” All it takes is one unfortunate poke in the wrong spot and you can end up with major regrets. An open lesion in your gum tissue might heal with no further implications, but it can also open up a gateway for germs.

Toothpicks Should Be Used with Caution and Care

When you feel tempted to use a toothpick to remove food debris after a meal at a restaurant, think twice. As we mentioned, one false move can result in unfortunate dental damage to your teeth and gum tissues. Many toothpicks are much sturdier than they appear. Not only are the sharp ends liable to poke you in the sensitive gums, opening wounds which are like opening a door for infection, but biting down on the hard wood of a strong toothpick at just the right angle can result in chips and cracks in your smile. If you have a pressing problem such as the caught popcorn husks we spoke about in our previous blog, use toothpicks very gingerly and sparingly. Just try not to make these wooden sticks a regular part of your dental hygiene.


At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-6356 today.