How Dangerous Are Toothpicks?

Posted on 6/15/2019 by Roberta Cerveny, DDS
How Dangerous Are Toothpicks?If you've ever had something stuck in your teeth at a restaurant, you know how helpful a toothpick can be. Originally made from wood, there are now plastic options available to help you get debris out from between your teeth. While this may seem like a simple and harmless tool, there are actually several ways that a toothpick can be dangerous.

Gum Irritation and Injury

A toothpick contains a sharp edge, and you really need to take care when moving it between your teeth. Should you poke in the wrong direction, you could contact the gums, leading to bleeding, irritation, and injury. Once the gums are penetrated or irritated, it is easy for bacteria to sneak in and cause gingivitis. Once periodontal disease starts, pain, inflammation, redness, and even gum recession may occur.


While the purpose of a toothpick is not for chewing, some people do make a habit of chewing on them. In this case, they could break apart and splinter. Those splinters hurt the gums, tongue, inner cheeks, and even the roof of your mouth. If they are caught in the soft tissues of your mouth, they'll need to be removed to prevent pain and possible infection.

Swallowing a Toothpick

Another possible danger associated with toothpicks is swallowing. Should the toothpick break and you swallow a piece – or you somehow swallow the entire thing – you could choke. If you don't notice that you've swallowed it, the toothpick could make its way to your stomach, where the stomach acid may have a hard time breaking it down. Eventually, the toothpick could end up in the intestines, and it could even poke a hole in the bowels.

Regardless of whether or not you use toothpicks to clean between your teeth, you still need to visit our office regularly for your cleanings and dental checkups. Call us today to set up your next appointment.

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Encino, CA 91436-1761

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Roberta Cerveny DDS has created this informative blog to help educate the community! Learn about Oral Health! Feel free to give our office a call at (818) 783-0408.
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