Two women eat popcorn

What to Do if You Get a Popcorn Kernel Stuck in Your Gums

Tired of dealing with annoying popcorn kernels stuck in your teeth? We've got you covered! These simple and dentist-approved methods can remove those pesky popcorn hulls without causing any damage to your teeth or gums. From using dental floss and brushing your teeth to rinsing with warm salt water, these effective techniques will ensure you can enjoy your favorite snack without the hassle.

Popping a big batch of popcorn in your Popsmith Popper? Always a treat. 

Getting popcorn stuck in your teeth? Not so great. It’s arguably one of the only annoying things about popcorn. 

Everyone who’s eaten popcorn has experienced kernels getting stuck between their teeth, braces, or — even worse — in their gum line regardless of whatever type of popcorn they’ve snacked on. 

This just comes with the territory of this tasty snack. However, you can easily fix this annoyance with some quick tricks and methods.

Throughout this article, we’ll talk about how to remove popcorn kernels from your teeth without damaging them or your gum tissue. That way, you can continue to snack without worry.

3 Effective Ways to Remove Popcorn Hulls from Your Gums

When you feel popcorn stuck between your teeth or underneath your gums, it’s typically the popcorn hull or popcorn husk that's stuck. These parts of the popcorn kernel are thin and tend to splinter off when they break. Luckily, removing these small pieces is pretty straightforward.

But keep in mind that you never want to use your fingernail or any other foreign object to remove food debris from your teeth. You can cause unnecessary damage to your teeth when using these weird “tools.” Instead, use mouth-friendly devices that are safe and dentist-approved.

Use Dental Floss

The best way to remove popcorn kernels from your teeth or gums is to use floss. Dental floss is completely safe for your teeth and will help clean your mouth as you get rid of pesky popcorn. 

Using gentle motions, go back and forth with the dental floss near the area where the popcorn is stuck. Floss will help get food debris out of your molars or gum line easily.

You may even want to start carrying a travel-sized floss dispenser around with you. Floss or a toothpick will come in handy at the movies, carnival, or anywhere you plan on eating a tasty popcorn snack.

Brush Your Teeth

A simple but effective way to remove popcorn from your teeth is to just brush them. This is almost guaranteed to get popcorn out of your gum line. Brushing your teeth may not always be an option when you’re on the go, but when you can, definitely give this technique a try.

Use gentle circular motions when you brush and try to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. This angle will help get the popcorn up, out of your gum line, and also just help with your overall oral hygiene. While most dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day, brushing extra to remove popcorn kernels won’t hurt.

Rinse Your Mouth With Warm Salt Water

Warm salt water is a great way to flush out food debris and popcorn kernels from between your teeth and in your gum tissue. Besides helping remove annoying popcorn kernels from your teeth, salt water is actually good for maintaining oral health. It helps clean your pearly whites and can even make toothaches go away.

To make a saltwater rinse, add ½ teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and stir for about thirty seconds. Once the salt has dissolved, it’s ready to rinse. You can even pour the mix into a Waterpik and use it on a low setting to flush out any popcorn debris from your teeth.

Is Eating Popcorn Bad for Your Teeth?

Popcorn itself isn’t necessarily bad for your teeth. It isn’t overly sugary or harmful to your teeth directly. However, it can be bad for your teeth and gums if you don’t take good care of your oral health and fail to remove stuck popcorn quickly.

Proper dental care can help you avoid any damage that eating popcorn may cause. When possible, brushing and flossing after you eat will do wonders for your overall oral health. The sooner you get those popcorn kernels out of your teeth, the better.

You may also want to drink lots of water as you eat your popcorn snack. Some popcorn flavors can be high in salt and may cause you to be dehydrated, which can lead to tooth decay. But drinking water will prevent that.

Chewing gum after you eat popcorn will also help your mouth create saliva that will flush out popcorn pieces from your teeth and gum tissue. Brushing, flossing, water, and gum will all help keep your teeth healthy even if you’re a big popcorn lover.

When You Should See a Dentist

A kernel getting stuck in your teeth shouldn't send you running to the dentist. Try these methods first. However, if a piece of popcorn is stuck in your teeth for too long, you may want to seek help from a healthcare professional.

Sometimes, a piece of popcorn can get stuck in your gums and cause a gum abscess. If you see your gums swelling or redness where the popcorn is stuck, then you should make an appointment with a dental hygienist. They’ll be able to help in extreme cases. Of course, regular checkups are recommended so your teeth stay healthy and you can continue snacking on popcorn anytime you like.

Learn More Popcorn Fun Facts with Popsmith

Popcorn in your teeth can be annoying. But as we mentioned, it’s super easy to get rid of popcorn kernels in your gums. Try flossing, brushing, and gargling with warm salt water. We bet one of these will do the trick!

If you want to know more about popcorn, get tasty recipes, or find good snack inspiration, make sure to check out our other posts!

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