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Rinse, Brush, or Floss! - Tricks to Dislodge Food in Your Teeth

By Jill Feilmeier on November 14, 2013 in Dental Health

Blue box of floss

Let’s be honest, we all have 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 do it. Instead, try these tips:

Excuse Yourself
There is 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 out of the public eye.

Rinse and Repeat
Can’t leave the conversation or situation? Grab a glass of water. A few swishes of very warm water can almost always do the trick, but any liquid would help. If you’re at home and struggling with a large, painful piece 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.

Carry Floss
Flossing is one of the best ways to dislodge food stuck in your teeth. This should not be a surprise to you. It’s not expensive and it’s easy to take with you. 

(Hint hint: save yourself suffering and toss it in your purse, car, or work bag.)

Should all else fail…

See Your Dentist
Should you have pain or if you often have trouble removing the item between your teeth, a good 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 and cutting into your gums is very important. Food particles that become wedged between the gum and tooth not only feed the bacteria initiating tooth decay, but also can more serious issues and even potentially an abscess. So think first before jamming into that gum line!