Popcorn is a tasty snack, but unlike many others, it can cause unwanted dental problems. If you've recently eaten popcorn and know that a kernel got stuck between your teeth or under your gum line, you can have a pressing problem on your hands that could quickly become much worse. Here's what you should do to try and get it out.
Try to Floss It Out
The most effective way to get a popcorn kernel out is to floss. Most people will find success here. Simply take a piece of clean floss, hold it taut between your hands, and gently work it into the space between the teeth where the kernel disappeared. If it's stuck between your teeth, it's likely to pop out right away. However, if it's under the gum line, it might be a bit more stubborn. Try to dip the floss gently under the gum line for best results, and use a U-shape when pulling it back up to create a sort of floss scoop.
If flossing didn't work, or worse yet, if flossing only pulled out part of the popcorn kernel, try moving on to this step.
Rinsing after flossing is a good way of getting things out that were loosened but not removed during the flossing process. You can swish the water around in your mouth and then spit it out. Make sure to keep an eye on what you're spitting out - if you don't see a kernel, you're likely still in trouble.
If the popcorn kernel still hasn't made its appearance, you may need to visit a dentist. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is. If the popcorn kernel stays where it is, it can create an infection in your gums. Early on, getting it out is as simple as a dental cleaning. Your dentist will perform an in-depth cleaning of your teeth and gums and will find the kernel and remove it. However, if an infection is allowed to start, the process may take more time and effort, as draining the infection and treating it will also be necessary.
Popcorn kernels are dangerous for your oral health. If you want to help reduce the risk of this happening again, start flossing regularly. This will help to reduce the risk of you developing gum pockets that can easily swallow up popcorn kernels and cause problems like this all over again.
To learn more about teeth cleanings, contact a dentist.