A Knoxville Dentist’s Take on Restaurant Toothpicks

You’ve probably already heard that Knoxville, TN has more restaurants per capita than just about any other city in the U.S.  Supposedly, we had the most per capita at one point in time.  Being a proud resident of Knoxville, I’m always happy to go support one of our local industries by eating at one of our great local restaurants!

Recently I was out for dinner after work with my family and we were at Aubrey’s restaurant.  Aubrey’s is an awesome place with great food and great service.  Being locally owned makes it even better.  We were eating at the one in Powell, TN because it is close to My Family Dentistry.  As I finished a great meal, I looked on the way out and went to grab a toothpick.  It’s just a habit after dinner in America to grab a toothpick.  They are in virtually every restaurant.  Sometimes restaurants will give you a mint or something to freshen breath after eating all that great food.  Mints are fine, but as a dentist, I have some recommendations for after being out to dinner at a restaurant.

The first place I would start is water.  Every dinner table in America should have water on it.  The very last thing you should consume after every meal should be water.  Water helps to clean and neutralize any harmful acids and starts to dissolve foods that are in our stomach.  Water has been shown to be a very effective rinse. 

Secondly, how about that after dinner mint?  Well, as much as I love those things, it’s sugar and most of the time not the best breath freshener.  Try to avoid mints or candy after dinner and use water instead.  Typically, water will be better at freshening your breath.

Lastly, what about that toothpick at the door or table as an alternative means to cleaning until we get back to our toothbrushes?  Truth be told, I don’t carry a toothbrush in my pocket, much less in my car, so having a toothpick is often the next best thing.  We even sell plastic re-usable toothpicks in our dental office.  They are awesome! 

On your way out of the restaurant, grab that toothpick and stop off at the bathroom to use the mirror.  While in the bathroom or car, remove any food between your teeth or around dental work.  It is a habit though to continue chewing on a toothpick after you’ve used it for its intended purpose.  Please be careful not to form this habit, as this could harm teeth and dental work.

So the next time you are out eating in Knoxville, TN, as we often do: leave the mint, grab some water and use a toothpick.  You will be a few steps ahead on your way to a healthier mouth!   

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