Dental Popcorn Problem

A popular snack since the 1800’s, popcorn is not among the top snacks recommended by most dentists. In fact, some of us go out of our way to avoid consuming the treat, in large part, because we see so many patients who identify popcorn as the cause of their dental pain.

In addition to excess salt, butter, and sugar that can coat it, popcorn can lead to dental damage. You may suspect that the worst thing about eating popcorn is when you unwittingly bite down un-popped kernel. However, the damage caused by the hull (which is the thin shell wrapped around the kernel) wedging between gums and teeth may be worse.

Kernel of History

The oldest popcorn known to date was found in New Mexico. In 1948, small heads of the zea mays everta were discovered by Herbert Dick and Earle Smith in a dry cave known as the “bat cave.” Several individually popped kernels were also discovered. These kernels have since been carbon dated and shown to be approximately 5,600 years old!

Un-Popped Popcorn Kernels

What could happen if you bite on an un-popped popcorn kernel:

  • A broken tooth
  • A cracked tooth
  • Inflamed gums

Popcorn Hulls Lead to Dental Damage

If a popcorn hull remains stuck between gums and teeth, it can lead this:

  • An Abscess
  • Bone loss
  • Decay (leading to a cavity)
  • Tooth deterioration
  • Tooth loss

Removing Aa Popcorn Hull from Teeth and Gums

The next time a popcorn hull buries itself in your gums, don’t dig at it with a toothpick. When you do this, you risk shoving the kernel further into your gums. Instead, try this:

  • Floss between your teeth and press hard against the side with the popcorn to loosen it as you floss.
  • Swish with warm saltwater to help relieve discomfort.
  • Use a Waterpik to gently irrigate the deep gum crevices.
  • Knot a piece of floss to add extra bulk. 
  • Run it through your teeth where the hull is trapped.

If you cannot remove the popcorn hull or are suspicious you may have cracked a tooth, call Dr. Fred Wong today.

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.