Toothpick Safety

• When in use, don't jab at your gums. You don't want to stick the sharp tip of the toothpick into tender gum tissue.

• Monitor the use of toothpicks when you have young children, especially toddlers and children under the age of 13. When training show your child to carefully place the tip between his teeth and gently remove any food particles.

• Use a safe technique. Run the toothpick in slow, gentle scraping motions up and down your teeth. After all the food particles that you can see have been removed, use the toothpick to clean between all your teeth. This keeps the bacteria from building up that cause plaque and tartar.

• Take attention when you use toothpicks to serve foods when young children are around. Children have a tendency to grab anything new or colorful and stick it into their mouths. A child may also swallow a toothpick that's in food. Remove all toothpicks before serving any food to a child. Even adults sometimes don't notice a toothpick sticking out of a small finger sandwich. When you use toothpicks in food, make sure the toothpick sticks out far enough to be seen and removed. Use toothpicks with colorful plastic wrappings at their ends so they are easy to spot.