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While it can be shocking, there are times when you eat a meal or a snack and get something stuck in the gumline. Usually, you can move 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 in your gums.

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

Here at Laura Miller DDS, your dentist, Dr. Laura Miller, offers these basic first-aid tips to help you safely remove something from your gumline.

It’s important to stay calm and patient when 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.

You might want to try vigorously rinsing your mouth with saltwater. This could loosen the object and soothe the gums. Try not to rinse with antiseptic mouthwash because this could actually irritate your gum tissues.

If the object is still stuck, you can use waxed dental floss to remove it. The waxy coating allows the strand to slide easier between teeth so you can work around the foreign object. You should never force the floss into place because it could seriously injure your gums.

If you still can’t remove the object from your gums, you should call Laura Miller DDS at 860-346-6872 to have it professionally removed. Your dentist in Middletown, Connecticut, is happy to help you!