Popcorn is one of the most social foods in the world. People eat it at the movies, in amusement parks, while watching television at home and during many other types of gatherings. The only real downside to this savory snack is when sometimes it gets lodged between your teeth. Popcorn stuck in gums is another possible irritating occurrence. Either way, you should remove the corn or hull debris right away to avoid harm to the area and potential tooth decay.
What to Do If Popcorn Stuck in Gums?
1. Rinse Mouth
Sometimes all it takes is rinsing to dislodge any leftover popcorn pieces. Some recommend using warm water with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Just don’t swallow the mixture as it may irritate your stomach. The salty combination will help sooth any gum irritation. You can also try using a teeth cleaning water jet to flush stuck particles from your gums.
2. Use Floss
If rinsing doesn’t work, consider flossing instead. Do it carefully, as you don’t want to push the popcorn particle further into the gum. Once you get out the piece that is stuck, go ahead and floss all your mouth so you can get any other pieces you cannot feel. If you are not familiar with flossing, take care to slide the floss to the curve of your tooth and slowly go down the side to the gums. Do not use too much force or you can cause more bad than good.
3. Use Your Toothbrush
If the popcorn stuck in gums is right at the gum line, you may be able to use your toothbrush to gently remove it. Just angle the end of the bristles so it can grab the particles and slowly drag it out. If that does not work, you can try using circular brushing motions to pull the corn or hull out of the area.
4. Nudge with Toothpick
Don’t have access to floss? Try using a toothpick instead. Gently nudge the popcorn particle with the end of the toothpick, pushing it out of the gum area. Do not pierce your gums or you may cause them to bleed. A light touch is key in using a toothpick to remove the leftover corn or hull.
5. Chewing Gum
You might think chewing gum will push the popcorn stuck in gums even further down, but it can actually assist in its removal. It can cause the debris to break loose or even flush it out with the excess salvia it causes your mouth to produce. Studies have shown that chewing gum can remove unwanted particles by upwards of 50% more than other methods. Just make sure to chew on the side with the lodged corn or hull.
Dealing with the Pain Afterwards
Sometimes the only reason you know you have a popcorn kernel or hull stuck in your gum is the pain associated with it. If it is lodged for a long period of time, it can become infected. You should see a dentist right away, but until then take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
1. Try Clove Oil
Clove oil is known for its antibacterial and pain-reduction properties. It might provide you relief until your dentist or doctor can see you. It is easy to use.
- Put a small amount of clove oil on a cotton swab tip.
- Apply tip to affected area.
- Repeat until you visit dentist as often as needed.
2. Apply Ice
Applying ice to the skin outside of the infected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. A cold compress is the best way to administer it.
- Put ice pack or ice cubes in towel and wrap with towel.
- Apply towel on skin outside face where corn or hull is lodged.
- You can use ice up to 20 minutes at a time, making sure to remove for 10 minutes before putting back on area.
3. Visit Dentist
If you cannot get the popcorn stuck in gums out by yourself, you will need to see your dentist. He/she can easily remove the particle and check to see if any infections or abscesses have developed. If the pain is unmanageable by over-the-counter pain relievers, your dentist can prescribe another type of medication that may help.