Let’s be honest, we’ve all been in a situation where we realize we have a huge something stuck in our teeth and stealthily—or perhaps not so stealthily—try to dislodge it with a substitute for floss or interdental cleaner.
Next time you’re thinking of sticking a knife, fingernail, or pen between your teeth – don’t. Instead, try these tips:
There’s no science here, but it will buy you time to go to the restroom and give you privacy to unstick what is stuck in your teeth. Not everyone may have a toothbrush or floss on hand, so this lets you do what you need to do politely and privately.
Rinse and Repeat
Can’t leave the conversation or situation? Grab a glass of water. A few swishes of warm water can almost always do the trick, but any liquid would help. If you’re at home and struggling with a large, painful object wedged in your gum line (like popcorn shells), try adding salt to the water to help reduce any swelling.
Brush Your Teeth
Brushing regularly is a good start to dental health. If you’re in a place where you can grab a toothbrush or a to-go version, try brushing first before going for the toothpick, fingernail, fork tine, or knife attack.
It’s not surprising that flossing is one of the best ways to dislodge food stuck in your teeth. It’s inexpensive and easy to take with you. (Hint: Toss it in your purse, car, or work bag.)
Should all else fail…
See Your Dentist
If you have pain or trouble removing the item between your teeth, a visit with your dentist can help. Your teeth may have shifted, or you may have cavities that need to be filled.
It seems like no big deal, but removing food without damaging your teeth or cutting into your gums is very important. Food particles that become wedged between the gum and tooth not only feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay, but they can also lead to more serious issues like an abscess. So think first before jamming into that gum line!
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