Whether you enjoy popcorn through the year or reserve it for special days such as National Popcorn Day (January 19), Caramel Popcorn Day (April 7) or National Popcorn Month (October), it’s helpful to listen to what a general dentist in Canton, MI, such as myself, has to say before you indulge. I see up close the effects of popcorn gone amok.
Mention the word “popcorn” to any dentist, and chances are that he or she hears “gum abscess” instead. On the one hand, popcorn is one of the healthiest and most fun snacks out there. Popcorn dishes up fiber and deliciousness that is low in fat, sodium and calories. Unfortunately, popcorn also dishes up some nasty side effects such as gum abscesses.
What Kernel Hulls Do
One of the top causes of gum abscesses among patients at dentists is stuck popcorn kernel hulls. The shape of a hull is so much like that of a tooth’s crown, so the hulls slip down between your gums and teeth. After that, the hulls firmly lodge. You can try brushing your teeth, flossing or using a toothpick, and not make headway in removing the hull. Leaving it there has the potential to lead to—you guessed it—a gum abscess and gum disease. Other common causes of gum abscesses include biting your fingernails (an act that leads to fingernail fragments getting your gums) and pencil chewing (splinters in your gums).
What to Do
Don’t wait before getting a kernel hull removed. However, if you do wait and are now experiencing discomfort and pain, get in touch with a dentist as soon as possible. Abscesses are extremely responsive to treatment; I’ll likely be able to identify and remove the popcorn hull or other foreign object, and drain fluid to ease the pain.
Are you dealing with oral pain, gum disease or other issues? I am Dr. Nadar Bazzi, a general dentist in Canton, MI. Contact my office today at (734) 447-3624.