Fact: Americans love popcorn. Americans consume more popcorn than any other country in the world. In fact, the average American consumes nearly 70 quarts of popcorn annually. However, for those with braces — popcorn can be extremely damaging to your orthodontic work. Popcorn kernels break up when we eat them and can easily damage your braces and cause a number of oral issues.
Today, Dr. Harrison’s orthodontics team will discuss what can happen if you get a popcorn kernel stuck in your braces, and what you should do.
Popcorn is notorious for damaging wires, brackets, and other orthodontic appliances. If you get a piece of popcorn kernel stuck between your teeth, it often requires the removal of your wires in order to dislodge the kernel. Unpopped kernels can easily break a bracket, which requires significant repair work. Kernels that get stuck and aren’t properly removed can lead to swollen gums and a potential abscess. The reality is, although we love popcorn, it’s best to hold off until you have your braces removed.
Related Post: Can I Eat Popcorn With My Braces?
So what happens if you already made the mistake of eating popcorn with your braces and managed to get a popcorn kernel stuck in your braces? Your first step should be to consult with your orthodontist. Explain the details of the situation like how long ago you got the kernel stuck, if you are feeling pain, etc. While they may request that you schedule a visit, if the kernel just recently got stuck they may recommend using a floss threader.
A floss threader is a simple dental tool that allows you to insert dental floss between your wires. It is basically a looped piece of floss that allows you to ‘thread’ regular dental floss into spaces between your teeth. To use a floss threader follow these steps:
- Get about 12 inches of dental floss.
- Insert one end of the dental floss into the loop of the threader, and pull about one-third of the floss through the loop.
- Pass the single thread side of the floss threader under your orthodontic appliances until about half of the loop is inside of your wires.
- Pull the remainder of the loop through the wire, which will pull the dental floss under the wire.
- Remove the floss threader, and gently floss back and forth to remove the popcorn kernel.
If you are unable to remove the kernel using this method, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist for further assistance. Don’t leave the kernel in and hope it works itself out! This can lead to serious oral issues in a short period of time.
Related Post: How to Floss With Braces