Popcorn is a delicious and fairly healthy snack, but it can wreak havoc on your oral health. Popcorn kernels can easily become jammed under your gumline, especially if your oral hygiene isn't in tip-top shape. If you have a popcorn kernel stuck under your gums, follow these steps to try to get it out.


The first thing you should do is take an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen. Even if your gums are healthy, once a popcorn kernel is under them, it will cause inflammation and swelling in the tissue. As the gum swells, it will squeeze the entrance between your gums and your teeth that the popcorn kernel got in through shut. Without opening it up again, it will be nearly impossible to get the popcorn kernel out.


Even if the kernel isn't stuck between your teeth, flossing can help. If the popcorn kernel is partially out of your gums and visible, you can use the floss to snag it and pull it out the rest of the way.

To do this, grin to expose your teeth, and hold the floss taut between your two hands. Set the string of the floss directly on top of the kernel, pull tightly against it, and then slowly drag the floss down, away from your gumline. Repeat until the kernel is removed. If the floss slips and the kernel moves further up into the gums, stop this step.


If the kernel isn't visible, you can try massaging your gums to help bring the kernel out. The gums are very pliable, so gently rubbing the gums can help to push the kernel out where it's visible.

With clean hands, put your finger on the affected gum as far from the tooth as you can go; at the top for upper teeth, and the bottom for lower teeth. Gently press your finger down on the gum, and circle your finger as you draw the finger toward the gumline and teeth. Repeat this process until the kernel becomes visible and can be removed with floss.

Dentist Visit

If you still haven't been able to get the kernel out, it's time to see a dentist. Popcorn kernels can cause infection if they're under the gums for too long, so don't delay.

Even if you get the kernel out on your own, a visit to your dentist may be in order. The end of the gums should form a tight seal around the teeth; if a kernel managed to get under yours, you may have gum disease.