Does Popcorn Cause Tooth Damage?

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Popcorn is one of the worst dental offenders. “Its not just the kernels that are bad for your teeth, but also the thin shell that surrounds the kernel,” says Chevy Chase, MD cosmetic dentist Claudia C. Cotca, DDS. “Oftentimes, it slides off and gets lodged between the gums and teeth, easily going unnoticed.” If it isn't removed in time, it can cause bone loss and possibly the loss of the tooth, too.

The Solution: A Dental Implant
In the case of a lodged kernel that gets overlooked for a prolonged period of time, bone and even tooth loss may be the result. Dr. Cotca says that sometimes the only way to fix the problem is by replacing the damaged tooth with an implant. "We may also have to fix the damage to the gum and bone with a graft. In fact, many dentists themselves avoid popcorn at all costs because they know what can possibly occur from eating it."

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For A Deep-Down Clean
To remove tooth-damaging food debris that gets lodged between your teeth and below the gum line, use this high-tech Pink Waterpik Aquarius Professional Water Flosser ($90), which relies on a pulse-mode technology to really clean teeth and freshen breath.

Inside Tip: According to Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald Goldstein, DDS, if your teeth have severe micro cracks in their enamel, beware the coloring agents in foods and drinks can get lodged in the cracks and have a damaging effect. "We do not see these foods affecting the gum tissue much, except in the short term."