Be Careful with Toothpicks

Man With a ToothpickToothpicks Can Cause Dental Injury and More

Toothpicks are quick and convenient when food debris is stuck between teeth, however, they’re also a common cause of dental injury.

Because they are so sharp, toothpicks can damage the gums and other soft tissue when used carelessly. They are somewhat ineffective, often pushing debris farther between teeth or below the gum line. If you do find yourself using a toothpick, use only minimal pressure and always keep the tip pointed away from your gums.

Safe and more effective alternatives include brushing, flossing, chewing sugar-free gum, or rinsing your mouth with water.

Additionally, toothpicks can be hazardous when used to prepare food or to garnish a drink. Unexpectedly biting down on any hard object can cause tooth fracture, and most dangerous of all is to accidentally swallow a piece of toothpick. A toothpick shard can perforate the throat, stomach, or any area of the gastrointestinal tract, causing life-threatening injury or infection. So whenever using toothpicks, be sure they are not broken or splintered.

Toothpicks also do nothing to prevent plaque or cavities, so stick to the safe ways of removing food debris!

Safe Alternatives to Toothpicks

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Chew Sugar-Free Gum
  • Rinse with water

About Dr. Jayson A. Chalmers

Jayson Chalmers was raised in Placerville, CA and graduated from El Dorado High School. He received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley. He went on to receive his dental degree from the University of California, San Francisco. After practicing as an associate dentist in Napa, CA, Dr. Chalmers returned to Sacramento to be closer to friends and family. He began practicing in his current location in January 2005.   Knowing that patients want to have the best options and treatment available to them, Dr. Chalmers has completed many hours of advanced educational training in general, implant, orthodontic, and cosmetic dentistry. He continues to learn and incorporate many of the latest dental technologies in his practice. Through the use of intraoral cameras, digital x-rays and computer imaging he can immediately show and explain all treatment options to the patient.   Dr. Chalmers is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, the Sacramento District Dental Society, the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and is involved in local dental study groups. Dr. Chalmers also is an active participant in Smiles for Kids, where free dental services are provided to local children in need.   Dr. Chalmers and his wife, Desirae, are the parents of Ella and Ava. They are an outgoing family and are very involved in the Arden-Arcade community. As a family, they enjoy tending to their chickens and organic garden, splashing around in the pool and traveling to beachside locations. Dr. Chalmers personal interests include camping and fishing and watching and playing most sports.

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