Food Stuck Between Teeth? Try These 8 Helpful Tips

Medically Reviewed By
Jonathan G. Campbell, DDS, FAGD
One of the top rated Dentist in Salt Lake City, UT
food stuck between teeth

Got debris or food stuck between your teeth? Try these helpful tips from our dentists.

  1. Rinse your mouth with water
  2. Floss your teeth normally
  3. Tie a knot in your floss
  4. Brush your teeth
  5. Use your tongue or finger
  6. Use a toothpick
  7. Wedge your teeth with a toothpick
  8. Visit your dentist
  9. Adjust your bite

And if you keep getting food stuck in your teeth, then keep reading to find out why this might be happening and what could be your best self help solution. This could become unexpectedly dangerous!


Tips on how to remove food stuck between teeth

1. Rinse your mouth

As simple as this sounds, rinsing your mouth is often enough to dislodge food from your teeth.

In most cases, you likely have a glass of water or beverage handy to swish around in your mouth.

Pro tip: Incase the stuck food is causing discomfort or pain, you can visit an emergency dentist.

2. Floss normally

As obvious as this sounds:

Flossing is used to remove unwanted food, debris, and bacteria from in between your teeth. So, if you have some dental floss handy, use it! You also need regular dental cleaning appointments. An additional teeth whitening appointment, will your teeth sparking.   

Pro tip: Keep a floss dispenser in your purse, car, or work bag. That way, you always have one nearby.

3. Floss with a knot

The floss can be used for more than removing dental plaque. If routine flossing does not work, tie a knot in the floss and carefully pull the knot between your teeth.

The knot adds an extra thickness that may be necessary to dislodge what is stuck between your teeth.

No string floss? Incase the stuck food is causing discomfort or pain, you can visit an emergency dentist. You can read about our favorite dental floss here.

4. Brush your teeth

This may seem like common sense, but sometimes people skip this step and go straight to more extreme measures like toothpicks (coming soon).

So, before we go there… Try brushing your teeth to maneuver the food or debris out of your teeth gently. 

5. Use your tongue or finger

Using your tongue in a sucking motion may be enough to pull the food out of your teeth.

Additionally, you may be able to gently pull the food out of your teeth with your finger. Just make sure you wash your hands before putting them in your mouth. Your tongue also also produces saliva which keeps your mouth lubricated and helps break down large chunks of food, preventing them from breaking down or leaving permanent stain.

6. Use a toothpick

Most restaurants provide toothpicks to remove debris from your teeth after a meal. If you can find one, excuse yourself to the bathroom where you can look in the mirror and remove the debris. With pointy ends, it’s important to see what you are doing and do not injure your gums or teeth. This can also be applied to dental implants.

 But remember: Toothpicks are single-use, so make sure you discard it afterward.

7. Another way to use a toothpick

If none of the above tips work, use this tip with precaution:

  • Place a toothpick in between the two teeth where the item is lodged.
  • Push it slightly so it stays in place.
  • Keep it there for a minute or two, allowing your teeth to move slightly.
  • Push the toothpick once more so your teeth move a bit further apart.
  • Wait a couple of minutes.
  • Then give the toothpick or floss another try.
  • Remove the toothpick once the item is removed or if it is not showing signs of coming out.

By ever so slightly moving your teeth apart, the item should be easier to remove. By only temporarily using the toothpick (10 minutes max), your teeth will move back to their original position once removed.

8. Adjust your Bite

If you notice that the food is getting stuck to a particular tooth, you can realign your bite to avoid the areas where food gets stuck. This approach can avoid gaps between teeth and improve your dental hygiene.

9. Visit your dentist

If you cannot remove the food or debris from your teeth, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Not only is it dangerous to have something stuck between your teeth for too long, but your dentist will likely have a few tricks up his or her sleeves to help.

Looking for a dentist near Salt Lake City? Visit us at Legacy Dental! Our dentists provide all your Links to our dental services page dental needs under one roof – food removal included!


P.S. Do you keep getting food stuck between your teeth?

If you have been wondering, “Why do I keep getting food stuck in my teeth?” then we have some possible answers for you!

Food should not continually get stuck in your teeth, especially not in the same spot again and again. Not only is this likely extremely annoying for you, but it can be damaging to your oral and overall health causing sometimes a situation where you need to get your mouth numbed at dentist.

If food keeps getting stuck in your teeth, then we recommend you get it examined by a dentist. It may be a sign something is wrong.

Here are some possible reasons why you keep getting food stuck between your teeth:

  • Gum disease: With periodontal disease, your gums pull away from your teeth, creating pockets for food and bacteria to get stuck. If left untreated, gum disease can result in tooth loss and other health problems like cardiovascular disease.
  • Tooth decay: Cavities create holes in your teeth – the perfect spot for food and debris to get stuck, which could create new cavities or worsen the current cavity. At Legacy Dental, we provide metal-free fillings and root canals for a natural-looking appearance.
  • Spacing issue: You may simply have the perfect gaps between your teeth for food to get stuck (a not so perfect distance for you, though). Having dental implants will often correct spacing issues along with anterior bonding, crowns and veneers.

If you have any questions about your oral health or want to schedule an appointment, give us a call! Our dental team is more than happy to help you.

CALL NOW: (385) 446-2942

Legacy Dental blog is proudly run by our Salt Lake City dentists team; We share knowledge about general dental care and practices. Apart from running this blog, we offer various dental services such as general dentistry, emergency dentistry, and dental implants for the community in Salt Lake City, Utah

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