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Getting a piece of food stuck between your teeth while eating or enjoying a snack is rarely a cause for concern. However, there are other times when a tough piece of meat or a seed, peel, or popcorn hull can get stubbornly and uncomfortably lodged. To help you safely remove it from between your teeth, your dentist, Dr. Sonny Afshar, offers these basic tips.

If you’re experiencing pressure and discomfort, you need to keep a level head. You should never try to use toothpicks or any kind of sharp, pointed tool to pry it out. This could potentially chip your teeth and severely wound your gums.

Waxed dental floss is the first thing you should reach for. The waxy coating allows the strand to slide easier between teeth to work around the lodged food particle. Try not to force the floss or snap it between the teeth as this could also injure your gums. If you have one on hand, a floss threader loaded with waxed dental floss can help you work the strand at a different angle.

You could also try using an oral irrigator or dental water jet device. The concentrated stream of water could wear away or wash away the food particle without any undue pressure. Sometimes it can even clear debris that are holding the piece of food in place.

If you need the piece of food professionally extracted in Cameron Park, California, you can always call 530.677.4457 to schedule an appointment at Country Club Dental.