We often hear that we need to floss and brush our teeth every day…but what about using toothpicks?

We all get food stuck between our teeth from time to time and it can be really annoying. But is using a toothpick good for your oral health?

Unfortunately not. Check out the reasons below on why toothpicks are bad for your teeth:

Receding Gums

Toothpicks can harm your gums causing gum recession (which is a form of gum disease). When your gums recede, it exposes the root of your teeth making it easier for cavities to form.


Toothpicks are made of wood so they’re easy to break. 

While on the hunt to locate stuck popcorn kernels, the toothpick may break in your mouth. If this happens a splinter could get stuck in your gums.

If you thought popcorn kernels were hard to find in your mouth, imagine a splinter!

Shifting Teeth

Using toothpicks too often may put pressure on your teeth and create gaps. This could cause your teeth to shift. 

Gum Infection

When prodding at your teeth you could miss and poke your gums. If you puncture your gums, you’ll be inviting bacteria into the hole to cause an infection.

Damage Dental Work 

Besides harming your tooth enamel, toothpicks could damage any dental work you have done like crowns, veneers, or fillings, etc.

What Should You Use Instead?

The answer has been in front of you the whole time! 


Flossing can be bothersome when you first start doing it, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Even if you floss the area in your mouth where food is stuck, it’s a sufficient replacement for toothpicks. But be sure to floss all your teeth later!

Toothpicks may have seemed like the easy solution to cleaning out food debris, but it’s just a convenient substitution for the proper dental tools. 

The less you use toothpicks the better off your teeth will be! And the more care you put into your dental health, the longer your pearly whites will last.

If you’re worried about the damage that could’ve been caused by toothpicks, visit us! Book your appointment today and we’ll help get your oral health back to pre-toothpick days!

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