Have you ever chowed down on a salad only to avoid smiling until you could find a mirror, afraid that pieces were lingering in your teeth? It's a fact of life — food gets stuck in teeth! Some foods, though, are worse than others. Here is a list of the top 3 foods that gets stuck in teeth and what to do about it:
Whether it's a muffin, a salad or whole-grain bread, seeds can be anywhere. Raspberries and blackberries are particularly annoying as their tiny seeds can wedge between your teeth or under your gums and feel nearly impossible to remove. If you're not going to have a brush or floss handy, try strawberries or blueberries instead.
While popcorn can actually be a pretty healthy snack, without extra butter, of course, it can cause serious problems if a piece gets stuck in your teeth. Those thin hulls tend to slip between the tooth and gumline and can lead to an abscess if not removed. Rather than prying around with your fingernail, try flossing and brushing. Once you get it loose, your gums might be sore, so rinse your mouth with warm salt water to prevent inflammation.
- Potato chips
Just think back to the last time you finish eating some chips — how long did you spend trying to get them out of your teeth? Loaded with starch, this snack feeds the plaque inside your mouth, and once you've got potato crumbs stuck in every nook and cranny of your molars, the acid production just keeps on coming. As an alternative, try flavored kale or lentil chips! They're crunchy, satisfying, and healthy.
Tips and tricks
Many people's initial urge is to use their tongue or fingernail to dig out whatever food particle is stuck, but be careful. If it doesn't come out easily, continuing to use your tongue could cause irritation, and digging with your fingernail could damage your gums or your tooth enamel. Try these tricks instead:
- Swish water around your mouth to loosen up food particles. You can do this discreetly during a meal or at a social event without anyone knowing.
- Chew sugar-free gum to help unstick any stubborn food pieces. Plus, it'll freshen up your breath.
- Keep floss with you. Just excuse yourself to the restroom and do a quick smile check — floss will be your best friend in getting embarrassing or painful food pieces out of your teeth.
- Can't get it out? Don't panic! Your dentist can help. You won't be the first person to call for an emergency appointment to get a poppy seed out of a crevice, so don't be shy.
If you seem to get food stuck in your teeth all the time, there might be a cause. You could have a gap or space between your teeth, or possibly a cavity that food is getting stuck in. Another possibility is periodontitis, which can cause pockets in the gums in which food can get caught. If this is a chronic issue, talk to your dentist to get treatment.
No matter what you're eating, as long as you are prepared with some gum, floss or just avoiding the worst foods for getting stuck, you'll be set to smile with confidence.