We’ve all been through it. Accidentally having something stuck in your teeth and then having it pointed out to you. Even horrifying is coming back home to see a giant piece of green stuck to your teeth, and wondering if your boss or clients saw it during that big presentation. Here is some info about food lodgement and what to do about it!
The Tireless Culprits behind Food Lodgement
Several categories of culprits exist that may cause you eventual embarrassment. If you do have the problem of repeated food lodgement, try to identify why it may be happening.
The shape of your teeth
The size, shape and position of your teeth determine whether you’ll get food stuck in between them or not. Many people are recommended braces because their teeth are unevenly positioned. Some people also have naturally occurring gaps in the teeth.
If you find food getting stuck in your teeth more often than before, this could be due to gum disease. Gum disease causes your gum line to recede, exposing more of the tooth and causing gaps. This could also be a circle- food lodgement causes gum disease if not taken care of. The food near your gums constantly irritates the gums and makes them fall back. This would then, lead to even more food lodgement, and more serious gum disease.
A Tale of Crowns
Some fillings can hang between two teeth and cause gaps. Usually, old fillings that need replacement will cause this problem. This is also true of loose or cracked crowns or caps on your teeth. Some people also have partial dentures in the mouth- those that act as ‘removable teeth’ for a certain area in the mouth. These may cause food lodgement. If any dental prostheses are maintained in this improper condition, they may cause continued food lodgement and eventually gum disease.
A Game of… Food?
The teeth in your upper jaw can push food in between two teeth of the lower jaw. This is also true in case of your tongue. Your tongue may be used to pushing up food between your teeth from the inside.
Treat your teeth right!
If you regularly open bottle caps with your teeth, bite your nails or use toothpicks, you are at higher risk for having food lodgement. Putting that much pressure on your teeth regularly may cause them to chip or even move and shift which could create gaps. Constant tooth-picking can cause the gums to bleed and cause gum infections. Its could also further increase the gaps between your teeth. So make sure you kick the toothpick and use a floss-pick instead.
Signs of Persistent Food Lodgement
1. Red, irritated gums in a particular area
2. Bleeding from the gums even with good oral hygiene
3. Vague pain or discomfort
4. The appearance of longer teeth
Since food lodgement eventually causes gum disease, look out for the signs of gingivitis (gum infections) in the area.
How to Win and never be embarrassed again
- Always brush your teeth with the correct technique. Use soft bristle brushes only.
- You could also use a small interdental brush to clean the area between the teeth.
- Floss your teeth properly every day. If string floss is too hard, try a floss pick or waterjet floss.
- Use floss-picks instead of toothpicks.
- Try not to habitually push your tongue against gaps in your teeth.
- See a dentist immediately if your prosthesis is in trouble, or if you always have food in your teeth.
- Tele consult a dentist incase your gums are in trouble and need immediate gels or ointments to relieve the gum pain.
Repeated food lodgement is no joke. It can turn into serious gum disease quite quickly. Your dentist knows it’s really irritating to have food getting stuck in your teeth all the time, and is there to help out! Make sure you book an appointment if you think you have a problem, and if you don’t, see your dentist at your regular half-yearly checkup anyway!