Toothpick could be a pointer to mouth odour
Sorry sir, we don’t give toothpick in this restaurant.” The waiter
said. “Then you shouldn’t sell meat here, how do I remove the piece of
meat lurking in my mouth?” the customer asked, raising his voice. “We
encourage customers to use something else, because we have been told
that toothpick could be damaging to the tooth,” she replied calmly.
That was how the supposed learned fellow learned a lesson about toothpick from the least unlikely source.
The use of toothpick is such that it is about the closest to call
when there is an external particle lurking in the teeth; most people use
it thrusting the stick-like material into their mouth for a rescue
Infact, some other people find solace in hanging the stick in their
mouth, not because they need it to get rid of extraneous materials in
the teeth, but because they have formed this as an habit, needless to
say addiction has set in.
Truth is that toothpick can actually help to dislodge whatever
substance is stock in the tooth, but the worrying part to its aid is
that; it is almost impossible for one to use toothpick without damaging
or exposing the tooth to pending danger.
Wikipedia defines a toothpick as a small stick of wood, plastic,
bamboo, metal, bone or other substance used to remove detritus from
the teeth, usually after a meal. A toothpick usually has one or two
sharp ends to insert between teeth.
Scientists have come to the conclusion that tooth picking is an act
that should not be encouraged because more pains are involved if care is
Dr Bukola Adeyemi, the sub dean of department of Oral Pathology,
University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State was of the opinion
that the thickness of the toothpick is not what can naturally fit into
the tight space between tooth and as a result, in the process of trying
to force the stick in, it exposes the gum to dangers.
“You discover that when people toothpick sometimes, there is blood
flow. When the gum heals, just the way our skin heals, by the way of
contraction, it will now move up a little. With gradual and repeated
damage to the gum, it will continue to lift it up. With time, it gets to
a stage where you can almost see the effect with your physical eyes.
There will be a space and food particles will start storing there. So,
the more people toothpick, the greater the space will be and the more
food will store there.”
Timothy Olakunle, a civil servant attested to the fact that he eats
meat a lot and always have reasons to use a tooth pick. “I discover that
sometimes, even when I have not eaten meat for sometimes, I feel some
particles of meat on my tongue, I wonder where they come from because I
brush twice a day.”
Another down part to the indiscriminate use of tooth pick according
to Dr Adeyemi is that “the gum starts receding. When the gum recedes,
and it gets into the oral cavity, some people start experiencing what we
call sensitivity. When air blows on it or they take cold water, they
feel a sharp pain. Though it is not the only cause of tooth sensitivity”
“The bad part to it is that, when food stock into the opening,
bacteria will like the area; they start producing enzymes that destroy
the periodontal ligament. With time, the tooth becomes mobile. So, for
somebody that is tooth picking, you may tooth pick for over 10 years and
until somebody examine you and tell you something is wrong, you may not
know there is a problem.”
Experts also revealed that tooth pick could eventually leads to mouth
odour. That is possible because some of the metabolites of the bacteria
that are found there could produce a fowl smelling gas.
The tooth is a very delicate part of the body and so behooves on
individuals to take utmost care in handling that part of the body.
The consensus among experts to a lasting solution or a better replacement for tooth pick is the use of dental floss.
Dr Adeyemi said that dental floss is an ideal and tooth friendly
device to pick the tooth with. “You push it through your tooth and when
you pull it out, it pulls out whatever is lodged there. We even
encourage fluxing once in a day, even if nothing is hanging in there.
When you are brushing your teeth, it is difficult for the brush to pass
through some contact area; those are tight areas for people with normal
“Sometimes, because of the activities of bacteria on the surface of
the teeth, flossing is essential to clean the tooth and remove
whatsoever might be lurking around it. It is just like a brittle of the
toothbrush and it can be reused if properly stored,” she concluded.
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