If your first instinct is to reach for a toothpick whenever you have a piece of food stuck in-between your teeth, you are certainly not alone. According to multinational market research and consulting firm Ipsos Group S.A., 8 in 10 people in America have admitted to using a toothpick to remove food stuck in their teeth. The same study further revealed that 35 percent of people in America have admitted to experiencing gum pain after using a toothpick to remove food or other objects stuck in-between their teeth. And 13 percent of those surveyed admitted to experiencing tooth pain for the same reason. Not surprisingly, many dentists in Northbrook IL, including Steven N. Kacel, DDS, MAGD. FADI at Northbrook Dental Care, admonish patients about engaging in such practices as it can lead to a variety of dental problems.
Dentists of Northbrook IL Reveal How Using Toothpicks Can Impact Oral Health
Although picking your teeth with these tiny wooden sticks or just chewing on them might seem harmless, the consequences of doing either might surprise you, according to several reputable dentists in Northbrook IL. Some of the ways that toothpicks can impact your oral health include the following:
Damaged gums – Whether you’re using them to pick food from the small crevices in-between teeth or chewing on them to cope with stress, you should know that toothpicks can tear gum tissue and cause severe bleeding.
Erosion of tooth enamel – For those who are unfamiliar, tooth enamel is the hard, outer surface layer of the tooth and also the first line of defense when it comes to protecting teeth against cavities. Over time, chewing or picking your teeth with toothpicks can erode tooth enamel, which, in turn, makes them susceptible to cavities.
Damaged tooth roots – For those with periodontal disease, a condition that causes gums to pull away from the teeth, using toothpicks can damage tooth roots by creating deeper periodontal pockets. They can also lead to tooth roots becoming more exposed, which can lead to severe tooth pain.
Infections – Another one of the many dangers of chewing on toothpicks to remove food from your teeth or to cope with stress is that they can break and leave splinters in your oral cavity, which, in turn, can cause infection. As a matter of reference, these broken pieces usually get stuck in the tongue, gums, and throat.
In summary, whether you’re using toothpicks to remove food from your teeth or chewing on them to cope with stress, it is a habit that you should consider breaking as soon as possible. In doing so, you can avoid nearly all of the dental problems detailed in this article.