If you find yourself tempted by the little container full of fresh toothpicks next to the cashier at your favorite restaurant, you may want to think again. Many people think gnawing on and picking at your teeth with a sharp wooden stick is a reasonable idea. After all, you can get pesky food particles out of the cracks and crevices of your teeth,…
If you find yourself tempted by the little container full of fresh toothpicks next to the cashier at your favorite restaurant, you may want to think again. Many people think gnawing on and picking at your teeth with a sharp wooden stick is a reasonable idea. After all, you can get pesky food particles out of the cracks and crevices of your teeth, and won’t that help avoid tooth decay? Knoxville dentist, Dr. Jim Erpenbach, will challenge you to a quiz on toothpicks so you can recognize that toothpicks may not be as harmless as they appear.
Q1. True or false – Toothpicks have been around since early man roamed the earth.
Q2. True or false – Toothpicks are strong enough to chip or break a tooth.
Q3. True or false – Toothpicks can contribute to gum disease.
A1. FALSE – Although history shows that early intelligent primates made toothbrushes by chewing on the ends of wooden sticks, this is not exactly what we know today as the modern toothpick. The tiny, sharp wooden toothpicks that so many people use to test the centers of baked goods or complete craft projects was invented in 1869. Charles Foster is the name of the inventor that mass produced toothpicks.
A2. TRUE – Many toothpicks are surprisingly sturdy for how small in size they are. If you have a tooth that is already compromised by a cavity or injury, it is going to be weak. Biting down on anything hard can lead to chips and cracks. So take caution if gnawing on a toothpick is a habit of yours.
A3. TRUE – Using a toothpick vigorously or carelessly can lead to poking and injuring your gum tissues. Once your gums are gashed and wounded, they can easily become infected from all of the bacteria swarming around in your mouth. Gum recession can be another issue with people that poke at their gums with a toothpick on a regular basis. If you are in a situation where you have food uncomfortably caught between your teeth and a toothpick is your only savior, be sure to look in a mirror and be careful to only hit your teeth with the sharp end, and not your gums.
Visit Your Knoxville Dentist
For a consultation contact your 37919 dental office at 865-584-8630. Dr. Erpenbach proudly serves patients in West Knoxville, the Bearden area, the 37919 zip code, and surrounding neighborhoods.