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3150 North Elm Street, Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408

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Greensboro Dental Clinic, Dr. Margaret Szott

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January 12th, 2020

Popcorn and your Teeth

Air-popped popcorn is a healthy, whole-grain, antioxidant-rich snack that is low in calories. It is a perfect snack for those trying to avoid potato chips and sugary snacks. While popcorn may be a smarter choice for your waistline, it can wreak havoc on your teeth.

Popcorn Husks 

It is tough to eat popcorn without getting some form of the food stuck between your teeth or under your gums. Popcorn hulls, or husks, are the thin coating around the kernel, and once popped, popcorn usually has small pieces of hull still attached. Regularly flossing your brushing your teeth can remove the culprit, but occasionally you might have a hull that remains stuck without your knowledge. If left for too long, it can cause severe gum inflammation and bone loss.

Unpopped Kernels

If you engrossed in a movie, you might not be giving your popcorn snack your full attention. If you accidentally pick up a handful only to encounter a tough, unopposed kernel, you may be putting your teeth at risk. The unexpected, hard kernel causes a significant impact on your teeth, and the force might break the kernel, but it could easily crack or break your tooth as well. 

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid naturally occurs in your body, but your mouth usually does not contain or produce it. Popcorn is excellent at creating lactic acid in your mouth, which can erode the protective enamel from your teeth and lead to cavities. 

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your popcorn while keeping your teeth and gums happy.

  1. Watch what you are eating and keep an eye out for whole kernels.
  2. Stay hydrated with water.  Drinking plenty of water will flush away some the leftover pieces and dilute the lactic acid created by the popcorn.   
  3. Chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate salivary flow and help wash away lactic acid.
  4. Brush and floss. The best tip for being able to enjoy popcorn while also protecting your teeth is to properly brush and floss as soon as you can after you have finished eating. 
You can enjoy the treat of popcorn without ruining your teeth if you are careful and with proper brushing and flossing promptly after eating.

Where We Are Located

3150 North Elm Street
Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
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