February 27, 2016

Etiquette: Tips on how to use a toothpick

43 items CBN lifted forex restriction on [Full list]

Toothpick is one of the effected items.

By Janet Adetu

The Toothpick part of the tools of dining for many, that is hardly visible on a well decorated table. A utensil that some just cannot do without.

toothpickAre you one who unfailingly uses the tooth pick regardless of what you have eaten? Is it simply part of your dining routine? Are you incomplete without using your toothpick after every meal?

It amazes me when I see so many people getting busy with their toothpick just after a meal. There is a conscious effort to remove anything removable in between the teeth including ice-cream. Executives, individuals, entrepreneurs and many others actually go out of their way to request for the toothpick when they cannot see it on the table. The toothpick itself is a thin piece of wood that was designed to aid the removal of tiny particles in between the crevices of our teeth, instead of using our fingernails. What I find amazing for those who use the toothpick is the fact that they are indeed aware that the use of the toothpick looks somewhat tacky in the public that is why still sit comfortably and pick at their teeth with one hand covering the whole mouth? The question is why do they cover their mouths? Yet again I guess for the need to be discreet but in a public way.

Some people on the other hand are not so discreet. They derive pleasure in letting everyone around know that they have just eaten or had a meal by sticking the toothpick in one corner of the mouth. Sadly though this an image killer as it makes you appears quite tacky. Look at this scenario, you are well suited up looking prim and proper and very polished. Just imagine how your image is sabotaged just by sticking a tooth pick in your mouth and walking back into your office.

Why expose yourself in the first place?

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is so much more decent, polite and less offensive if you were to ideally use the toothpick in a more exclusive place. You may ask “where?” Well just to throw in some suggestions the rest room or your car, are a couple of easy places to use the toothpick. So therefore using a toothpick at the table is not proper etiquette so they say.

Some people may wonder what all the fuss behind the use of the toothpick is. If you are indeed a respectful, representative and reputable person, simple social acts like this will not go unnoticed. It is important to conduct yourself properly at all times. In a social setting too you may not know anyone around you, while using the toothpick openly, but you will be surprised at how many people know you including your name too.

One good thing about the toothpick is that, it now has several other uses other than for teeth. The toothpick is a caterers dream for cocktail juices, finger foods, cakes and more. Domestically some use the toothpick as their hands on gadgets for fixing, sealing, clearing displaying and holding amongst a host of others. Let’s come back to the main usage of the toothpick, I have a few tips how to conduct yourself when using the toothpick.


  1. Tooth picks are used discreetly in a private place like the bathroom and not on the dining table. Nowadays it is better to have your toothpicks individually pre-wrapped for safety and hygiene.
  2. Only use a tooth pick if necessary. It has been proven to widen the gap between your teeth.

4.Discard a used tooth pick by breaking it into two and disposing it.

5.During cocktails never re-use a tooth pick to select food from the display tray.

  1. Avoid covering your mouth with the other hand whilst using a tooth pick.

7.Once you have successfully removed pieces of food between your teeth, desist from spontaneously spitting them out. Simply place gently into your napkin.

8.Tooth picks can be hazardous so avoid retaining them in your mouth after meals.

9.Refrain as much as possible from using an exposed toothpick.

  1. If you are a regular user keep some on you, preferably the plastic version

As you eat your next meal enjoy the food, use a toothpick where necessary but act with caution.

Happy Reading!