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It’s quite common for pieces of food we eat, like popcorn hulls and meat fibers to get stuck between your teeth. Sometimes this can even cause pressure, discomfort and possibly pain. If you are in distress, you need to keep a cool head and address the issue one step at a time.

Dr. Christopher McGonigle offers these few simple tips to improve your chances of removing a stubbornly stuck piece of food from between your teeth.

You should never try to use toothpicks or any kind of sharp, pointed tool to pry it loose. This could injure your gums or damage the teeth.

The first to try to safely remove the stuck food item from between your teeth is waxed dental floss. The waxy coating allows the strand to slide easier between teeth to worked around the foreign object. You should never force the floss into place, as it could seriously injure your gums.

If you want to gain access at the food particle from a different position you might want to try using a floss threader loaded with waxed dental floss. An oral water jet or dental foundation might also loosen the object. Sometimes a vigorous rinse with lukewarm salt water is enough to wash the object between your teeth loose, or to alter its position enough that waxed floss can finally pry it loose.

If you still can’t easily remove the object you can always call Dr. Christopher McGonigle at 781-272-2875 for more advice or to have it professionally removed.