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Q. I have a habit of finding pleasure by pricking the gums. Will it affect my oral health?

Answered by
Dr. Beryl Fredrick
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 01, 2020 and last reviewed on: Feb 04, 2020

Hello doctor,

Ever since I was little I would stick sharp, pointy things between my teeth and poke and pick at my gums. It would cause pain but the pain was addictive, it is like I enjoy the pain. When I was a child I would use my fingernails to do it until my gums would bleed. I know that sounds nuts but it is true. As I got older, I started using things like toothpicks. Keep in mind what I am feeling is definitely pain but it is a sensation I like for some reason. I tend to do it between my back teeth. I am worried about my teeth.



Welcome to

I have gone through your query and understand your concern. Constant tooth picking leads to gaps between teeth, gum bleeding and gum weakness. Weakness of gums and bone creates more gaps which attract food deposits. These deposits irritate the gums constantly leading to gum and bone infection. This condition is called Periodontitis.

Pain, swelling, and spaces between the teeth getting wider are the signs of periodontitis. Once those gums and bone get infected, those teeth will start to shake and become loose in no time.

Please visit your nearby dentist and get a scaling and polishing procedure done to remove those calculus deposits. This cleaning procedure should be done once in six to eight months if required, for maintaining healthy gums. And please do try and quit the habit because more than the calculus, your teeth picking habit causes major damage to your gums and teeth. It may even cause multiple teeth decays. To start with, you can try discarding toothpicks and sharp objects from your sight to stop this habit.

I hope this helps.

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