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It’s quite common for food particles like popcorn hulls, meat fibers, and fruit peels to get stuck between your teeth or in your gum line. This can be even more troublesome if you have a habit of chewing on things like pencils and pens and a small piece breaks off. While this often causes minor discomfort there are some situations where an object in your gums can actually cause pain.

The first course of action to try is to vigorously rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water. This can often help to loosen the object or wash away a little of it to help you get a clear understanding of the how badly the object is stuck. The salt water rinse also helps to soothe irritated gum tissues.

You should never use toothpicks or sharp tools to try to pry an object out of your gums The last thing you want to do is injure your gums or cause other problems.

Sometimes the most effective tool for working an object out of your gums is waxed dental floss. The waxy coating allows the strand to slide between teeth easily and can often be worked around the foreign object. A floss threader with wax coated floss might also help you work on the foreign object from a different position.

If you still can’t easily remove the object from your gums, you should call Dr. at 415.222.9600 for advice or to schedule an appointment.