Are Toothpicks Good for your Teeth?


We all know how important it is to clean our teeth on a regular basis, and some of us are also aware of the importance of the correct tooth brushing techniques and how to brush your teeth correctly.

This applies not just the front surfaces of the teeth, but between the teeth, too. In fact, this is essential for cavity prevention and general oral health.

So what’s the best way to go about getting to those narrow spaces between teeth and cleaning them properly? The answer to this question is easy and you probably already guessed it: dental floss. 

A good rule to follow is to brush your teeth twice a day, and floss at least once, ideally, just before bedtime.

Cleaning teeth between meals is important

That’s all well and good, but what about during the day, though? We lead busy lives and running to the nearest bathroom to floss after a working lunch is not something that we can all do!

Let’s say you’ve just had lunch or a mid-afternoon snack, and you can feel the gunk that’s stuck between your teeth. It isn’t always easy to pull out dental floss in the middle of the day, especially if you’re in a work meeting or other appointment.

Do toothpicks work?

What about the good old-fashioned toothpick? Toothpicks are fast and convenient, easy to carry around and have pointy tips that are good for digging into the tight spaces between teeth.

The fast answer. No. In fact, we don’t recommend toothpicks. For one thing, they don’t do a very good job compared to the other options available.

Another reason we do not recommend toothpicks for daytime interdental cleaning is that it is not unheard of for people to get splinters in their gums when a piece from a wooden toothpick breaks off. You might also poke into your gums by accident.

Toothpicks don’t Clean Plaque

But those are not the main reason that we don’t recommend toothpicks, the main reason is that Toothpicks don’t clean off plaque properly.

Interdental Cleaners for between meals

So that brings us around to other interdental cleaning options: when you’re out and about during the day, we recommend using an interdental cleaner. 

There are several types available at any grocery store and they’re usually made from soft plastic with bristles on the end. They should be slender and compact, so you can slide them easily between your teeth to dislodge and remove trapped food particles and other debris.

We’ll admit that chewing on a toothpick looks pretty cool. But they are not recommended for cleaning teeth. Use an interdental cleaner. Floss picks are also good.

If you are interested in learning more powerful ways to whiten your teeth naturally read our Ultimate Teeth Whitening Guide: XXL Edition