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We have all had a time or two when a small meat fiber or other tough piece of food got stuck between two teeth. This rarely causes discomfort. In many cases, you can remove the nuisance piece of food with a quick rinse of your beverage or by playing with it with your tongue.

However, there are some times when a piece of food or a foreign object can get painfully stuck between two teeth. This is even more likely to befall you if you have a bad habit of nibbling on pens and pencils or if you routinely bite your fingernails.

Even if you are in a state of distress, it’s important to keep a cool head and safely remove the offending object.

The first thing to try is to vigorously rinse the area with lukewarm saltwater. This might help dislodge the food particle on its own. If anything, this could give you a better view of the problem.

You should never try to use toothpicks or other pointed tools to pry the object loose. This could injure your gums, damage teeth or lead to other complications.

Waxed dental floss is the best tool for clearing the object from between your teeth. The waxy coating allows the strand to slide easier between the teeth to work around the foreign object. You should never force the floss into place as it could seriously injure your gums. A floss threader loaded with waxed floss might also help you work at it from a different position.

If you live in the Berryville, Virginia, area and you need help removing something stuck between your teeth, you should call 540-955-0270 to seek professional extraction from Dr. Gina Kaiser and Nicole Malony at Berryville Dental Associates.