Small pieces of food — especially things like popcorn hulls — can get under your gums. If these pieces aren't removed, the area can get irritated, and even infected.
What You Can Do
If you feel something wedged under the gum, try using dental floss to remove it. If this doesn't help, take a toothpick and gently run it around the gum line. Be careful that you don't hurt your gum with the toothpick or accidentally push anything deeper under your gum.
What Your Dentist Will Do
If you can't remove a foreign body yourself, see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist has special tools that allow him or her to see into your mouth and find whatever is trapped under your gum. Your dentist will check for infection.
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Reviewed by the faculty of Columbia University College of Dental Medicine