Toothpick, anyone? Nobody likes that nagging feeling when food gets stuck between their pearly whites. If that piece of spinach lingers too long, our smiles may be received rather oddly - and our bad breath even worse. Take a look at this list of foods that tend to find a home in between our teeth.
During backyard barbecues, ribs are a prime offender of a pleasant smile. Similarly, that barbecue sauce smothered over your cheeks and lips isn't likely to impress your friends and family either. Rib meat often gets wedged between back molars, causing trouble biting down and discomfort that may remain until the bit is removed.
The last thing anyone wants on their date at the movies is halitosis, the medical term for bad breath. Popcorn kernels are small enough to get caught in the narrow gaps between teeth. If you glance over and see that special someone clawing at his molars, you'll know why. Be the hero of your own flick and bring a toothpick and some gum, just in case.
3. Caramel apples
Once fall rolls around, caramel apples will become another main food that clings on teeth. While the apple part may be fine, caramel's ultra-sticky texture latches onto the walls of teeth, creating a cavity-causing culprit. Chewy candies in general are harmful for oral health because the sugar sets into the grooves of teeth and stays there. The longer sugar remains on the teeth, the more potential decay can occur.
Even healthy fruit can cause a problem or two. Like ribs and popcorn kernels, raspberry seeds find their way into back molars and can be a nuisance to get out. An average raspberry has around 120 seeds. With that being said, raspberries rank among the most antioxidant-rich fruits, so leave the robust red fruit in your diet, just make sure to remove the seeds between your teeth once you're done eating.
5. Potato chips
Potato chips don't get stuck between teeth as much as they clump up in the deep grooves on top of them. You can usually feel it when you bite down after chowing on chips - it's like a lump of junk toward the back of your mouth. Rinse the starch away with a glass of water, or better yet, ditch the bag of chips altogether.
Ways to remove food bits
Try to remove food as quickly as possible. If left, the food will mix with your mouth's natural bacteria to form plaque and begin wearing down dental enamel. Before that occurs, though, you might notice that your breath becomes far from appetizing.
If you're going out, carry a small pack of floss or a toothpick in your pocket or purse. If you don't have any of these items, the next best thing is to swish around warm water in your mouth to try to dislodge it. Afterward, chew on a piece of sugar-free gum to pull out the food bit.
Promote oral health for kids and only let them eat these foods on occasion. Otherwise, make sure they rinse, floss and remove all food debris.