We’ve all been there: you’re sitting in a dark movie theater, munching on delicious popcorn, and you feel the irritatingly inevitable occur—a corn kernel gets lodged between your teeth. While it is especially common with this particular treat, getting food stuck between your teeth is a universal frustration. This annoyance often occurs at the worst possible time—a fancy dinner, an important business lunch, or, yes, even on a movie date, distracting you from your film and causing you to worry about how your smile will look when you leave the theater.
Of course, solving the problem subtly isn’t easy. We’ve all attempted the not-so-demure technique of working the food out with the tongue. Perhaps you’ve even tried to dislodge a kernel or two with an instrument such as a fork. These strategies only make the problem worse, creating a negative impression on your colleagues, dates, family, and friends. At Dr. Craig Armstrong’s Houston dental practice, we’re committed to helping our patients with each and every component of their oral health, which includes your popcorn woes. In the following blog, we provide our tips for getting those crafty corn kernels out of your teeth.
According to the Popcorn Board, “Americans consume 13 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually of 42 quarts per man, woman, and child.” This buttery, crunchy snack is a staple of movie theaters across the nation. When properly prepared, without excess butter, salt, and seasoning, it is also a healthy, high-fiber option. Popcorn serves as a nice replacement for fatty, non-nutritious options like chips or fries. It also lacks the starches found in crackers or breads. While these may seem harmless, they actually break down like sugars in your mouth, getting stuck to your teeth and raising your risk for decay. In fact, Delta Dental puts “unbuttered popcorn” on its “snack smart food list” to help patients avoid cavities and other issues.
Despite popcorn’s benefits, many people avoid it because they’ve had negative experiences with getting it stuck in their teeth. When a piece of corn kernel gets stuck between your teeth, it can be exasperating at best, and even painful, at worst. Leaving a piece of popcorn wedged between your teeth creates a haven for bacteria to gather. Corn kernels can also become lodged under your gum line, which could lead to periodontal infection or even an abscess.
As with most oral health problems, these conditions can worsen and become much more serious if left unaddressed. This is why it is especially important to make sure you remove any particulate matter from between your teeth or under your gums when you enjoy popcorn.
In addition to the damage of leaving a corn kernel stuck in your smile, using the wrong methods to forcibly remove it could also hurt your smile. Prying too hard at your gums, sticking unwashed fingers in your mouth, or using a too-sharp object to dislodge a corn kernel could also injure your teeth and gums. Furthermore, many people believe that toothpicks are a good way to remove popcorn from the teeth. However, toothpicks are actually shown to cause damage to the gum tissue and apply force on the tooth that can even cause gaps. In fact, an article from the Journal of Historical Dentistry explains: “indiscriminate toothpick use can lead to halitosis, dental caries, injury to the interdental papilla, mouth ulcers, allergic reactions, embedment of the device in the back of the mouth or throat, gingival abscesses” and “sensitive teeth,” among other issues.
Fortunately, Dr. Armstrong and our team are here to help you handle the remnants of popcorn the right way to maintain the health and beauty of your teeth and gums.
Let’s return to that dark movie theater and the ill-placed corn kernel between your teeth. What are you to do? Dr. Armstrong and our team recommend:
If brushing, flossing, rinsing, and swishing aren’t sufficient to dislodge that stubborn popcorn kernel, it’s time to call Dr. Armstrong and our Houston dental team. We will examine your mouth, help you remove the particle, and formulate a treatment plan to help prevent future popcorn problems. We offer a wide range of general and cosmetic dentistry procedures to help you maintain a proper, healthy, popcorn-free smile.
Whether you’re suffering from a serious toothache or simply have popcorn stuck in your teeth, there is no question too small for our Houston dental team. Feel free to ask us anything! In addition, if you haven’t seen us in six months or more, it’s time to schedule a biannual dental cleaning and examination appointment. Contact us today to learn more!
Original Source: https://www.craigarmstrongdds.com/cleanings-and-prevention/how-to-get-popcorn-out-of-your-teeth/