Dental Problems From Popcorn
Popcorn is a great tasty snack. There’s nothing like warm buttery popcorn to accompany a movie or while binge-watching your favorite TV show. However, popcorn can cause a real danger to teeth in several ways.
Uncooked kernels can be extremely tough. Accidentally biting down on one can cause cracks, chips, or tooth fracture. Partially cooked kernels may appear to be a nice soft piece, only to be hard and unyielding. To avoid possible injury, pour out the bag to sort and discard the remaining uncooked kernels or those partially popped.
Additionally, the husks or hulls of popcorn kernels can be tough stubborn debris. It often gets stuck between teeth or in the gums, causing discomfort, aggravation, and irritation. To remove a stuck popcorn kernel, use a piece of dental floss or brush your teeth. You may also use mouthwash or water to rinse your mouth and dislodge the kernel. Avoid using toothpicks, as they can cause more damage and trauma to gum tissue, or perhaps even wedge the food debris further between teeth.
Finally, the most serious danger posed by popcorn is the choking hazard. The small bite-sized portions are perfect for prolonged snacking. However, they can also easily obstruct the airway. Furthermore, it may be tempting to grab a whole handful, putting too much in your mouth at once. Also, because we often eat it while laughing or talking, the chance of an accident is more likely.
To avoid this choking hazard:
- Eat only one piece at a time.
- Don’t eat while laying down or reclined.
- Don’t talk with your mouth full. (See? Your mother really did know best!)
The risk increases for children, who have a much narrower windpipe. For young children, it’s best to avoid popcorn altogether, or else have close adult supervision.