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It’s a pretty common occurrence for anyone to eat a meal or a snack and get something stuck in the gum line. Usually you can play with it with your tongue or swish it with your beverage and it comes loose. However, there are times when a tough piece of food, like a popcorn hull, fruit peel or seed can get uncomfortably lodged between two teeth.

Worse still, if you have a bad habit of nibbling on foreign objects like pencils and pens, a piece could break off and puncture your gums. This can sometimes cause pressure, discomfort and even pain.

Here at Ifantis Dental Care, Dr. John Ifantis offers these basic first aid tips to help you safely remove something from your gum line.

It’s important to stay calm and be patient about clearing the object away. You should never try to use toothpicks or sharp, pointed tools to pry the object loose. This could injure your gums and potentially damage your teeth.

Try to vigorously rinse your mouth with salt water. This could loosen the object and help soothe the gums. Try not to rinse with antiseptic mouthwash as this could actually irritate your gum tissues.

If the object is still stuck, you can use waxed dental floss to remove an object that is stuck in the gum line. The waxy coating allows the strand to slide easier between teeth to worked around the foreign object. You should never force the floss into place, as it could seriously injure your gums.

If you still can’t remove the object from your gums, you should call Ifantis Dental Care’s clinic in Morton Grove, Illinois at (847) 268.4998 to have it professionally extracted.