Toothpicks are the oldest teeth cleaning instrument we know of, with telltale signs of wear in the corner between teeth being found in skulls that are thousands of years old. Is it time to leave this ancient tool in the past?
Toothpicks are made to help remove those annoying bits that get stuck between your teeth after a meal. In that regard, it’s serving the same purpose as floss. So how does a toothpick stack up against the reigning champion of cleaning in between?
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Let’s just say that your dentist isn’t asking you how often you toothpick. He’s asking how often you floss.
What’s wrong with toothpicks?
The number one reason why floss is – and always will be – better than toothpicks is that the latter can’t really clean between your teeth. Flossing is just a superior way to clean for most people, which is sort of the whole point.
That isn’t the only advantage floss has! Since using toothpicks is just pressing a sharp object against your teeth and gum, it can actually end up doing some real harm.
It can be especially harsh on your gums, but you should also keep in mind that the area of your teeth just underneath the gum line is also sensitive. Your enamel may also be weakened after a meal if it is acidic. This includes a number of popular foods and drinks, so be careful.
Toothpicks made of wood and bamboo are very common, especially in restaurants, and these come with their own inherent risks. They are often quite fragile and can break in your mouth, giving you splinters in your gums.
While the use of toothpicks won’t cause any problems on its own, you could say that they are more likely to cause harm through misuse than other alternatives. If you couple that with the fact that the other options for flossing are simply more effective at cleaning, it should be clear that toothpicks won’t go back to dominating humans’ oral hygiene again anytime soon.
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