Toothpick

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Wood toothpicks

A toothpick is a small thin stick of wood, plastic, bamboo, metal, bone or other material. It has at least one and sometimes two pointed ends. The first mention and patent for it was in February 1872.[1] A person can push a toothpick between their teeth to remove very small pieces of food, after a meal. Toothpicks are also used for celebrations to hold or stick small appetizers (like cheese cubes or olives).

Toothpicks sometimes have plastic frills or look like small paper umbrellas or flags.

History[change | change source]

The toothpick is the oldest tool for cleaning teeth. The skulls of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, show clear signs of teeth picked with a tool. Toothpicks that are made of bronze have been found in prehistoric graves in Northern Italy and in the East Alps.

Materials used to make toothpicks[change | change source]

There are artistic toothpicks made of silver in antiquity, as well as from mastic wood.


In the 17th century, toothpicks were luxury objects. They were made using precious metal and set with expensive stones.

The first toothpick-manufacturing machine was developed by Marc Signorello in 1869. Another was patented in 1872, by Silas Noble and J. P. Cooley.[2]

Wooden toothpicks are cut from birch wood. Logs are first cut into thin sheets, which are then cut, chopped, milled and bleached into each toothpicks. Plastic toothpicks, also called dental pics, are still made in America in Georgia, by Armond's Manufacturing. Nowadays other ways of keeping include using dental floss, toothbrushes, and oral irrigators.

References[change | change source]

  1. "The Toothpick - Technology & Culture". userwww.sfsu.edu. Retrieved 2020-08-21.
  2. inventions, Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered; films, inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years She is known for her independent; documentaries; Alex, including one about; Bellis, er Graham Bell our editorial process Mary. "A Comprehensive History of the Dental Profession and Dental Care". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2020-11-28.