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Your teeth are tightly spaced with their neighbors. This creates a clean biting and grinding surface that allows you to chew your food. Sometimes minute pieces of food can work their way into these spaces. Sometimes a hard piece of food, like a meat fiber or seed hull, can become stuck between two teeth.

Sometimes it can be loosened by your tongue or a quick swish of your beverage. In some rare instances, the piece of food stuck between your teeth can cause pressure and discomfort. To help you safely remove it, Dr. Michael Smith & Evan Smith offers these basic first-aid tips.

Even if you’re experiencing discomfort, you need to remain calm. You should never try to use toothpicks or any pointed object to pry it loose. This could potentially chip your teeth and severely wound your gums.

Waxed dental floss is the tool of choice. The wax layer on the strand allows it to slide easier between teeth to work around the lodged food particle. Try not to force the floss or snap it between the teeth as this could also injure your gums. If you have one on hand, a floss threader loaded with waxed dental floss can help you work the strand from a different angle.

An oral irrigator or a dental water jet, like Waterpik, might also help. The concentrated stream of water these devices create could wash away the food particle without any undue pressure. Sometimes it can even clear debris that are helping hold the piece of food in place.

Should these measures fail, you might want to call 208-343-4986 to have it professionally extracted at Boise Dental Center - Michael Smith, DMD & Evan Smith, DMD. Your dentist in Boise, Idaho, is happy to help you!