As dental professionals we at Today’s Dental Grande Prairie often get asked “what foods should I avoid in order to protect my gums?” There’s nothing worse than having a piece of food get stuck between your gums, especially when you’re on a date! Another similar question is what foods might be bad for the long-term health of your gums?
A favorite food of mine (and of many others) is popcorn. It is a healthy snack when not loaded with butter, it’s easy enough to make, and it has a pretty low cavity risk with it. Knowing this you wouldn’t need to see us for fillings right? Interestingly enough, popcorn is so bad for your gums that a lot of dental professionals have named the issues they cause ‘Popcorn Periodontitis!’
So what is it about popcorn that causes gum issues? It’s the husks or hulls around the seed that get lodged in between the gums and the teeth. These can work their way in quite deep and can cause an abscess. This can be particularly bad if you have a tooth erupting, like a wisdom tooth where the gums are already a little swollen. The other issue that popcorn can cause is biting down on a kernel and breaking a tooth.
Despite the dental risks that popcorn has, with good care including brushing and flossing, and coming in to see us for cleanings and exams, we still recommend this tasty treat.
While this one is far less harmful than popcorn, it’s still worth mentioning. We all know the feeling: you get the first batch of fresh strawberries that come into town in summer. You excitedly bite into that juicy treat, and one of the tiny seeds finds its way into a groove in your tooth and doesn’t want to get out!
Strawberries contain extremely tiny seeds on the outside of them and these seeds can cause some discomfort for teeth if they get stuck in them, but they can also find their way between your gums and your teeth. Much like the above mentioned popcorn, if these little seeds work their way in between then they could get stuck and can potentially cause an abscess.
If you suspect you have something caught between your gums and it won’t come out, please call us!
One of the most common issues foods cause (that is easily correctable) is food getting stuck between your teeth. The foods that most readily cause this are stringy meats (such as chicken or turkey). By no means would I ever not recommend these foods. Quite the opposite in fact! What I would recommend is discussing areas that food is getting caught in with myself or my team at Today’s Dental Grande Prairie.
There are plenty of options to close these spaces, from Invisalign or other Clear Aligners, to replacing broken down restorations, or in some cases a dental crown might be indicated.
So why is food getting caught between your teeth bad? Well one reason is it can cause a cavity pretty easily, but the other reason is the gums in that area will respond very poorly and gum disease in that area will progress quite rapidly!
I hope these tips have helped let you know what foods might be hurting your gums more than you think. If you have found these tips useful, let us know with an email or in person!