Dr. Shah: Hi Riya, welcome to ask the doctor. What is your question?
Riya (Patient): Hi doc, my question is that I constantly have food stuck between my teeth at a particular spot. Why does that spot hurt so much?
Dr. Shah: This is a very common question. I get this quite a few times, so thank you for asking that question so that lots of people will benefit from the answer to this question. First of all, why does food get stuck? When you have a space between the teeth, this space could be because the teeth got separated or you have a cavity on the tooth or you have a gum recession. In all three incidents, there is a space between the teeth and when you chew the food the bottom teeth will act as a plunger and will push the food in between and because of the elasticity of the tooth, teeth will separate a little bit and push that, Then food stays there. It will not come out without you using a pushing with the either toothpick or a brush or Floss will not work here or Waterpik. One of the things you can use is, I will explain to you a little bit more how to take care of it, but let’s go and see the first each and every area. First of all, why do you have a space between the teeth? Either you’re getting a braces treatment, so during the treatment sometimes teeth shift and create a space. Number 2, It is because of gum disease. When you have gum disease, means bone loss, teeth get weaker and they can shift or move easily. Number 3, It’s because of aging as in generalized aging, you will have a little bit of gum recession, a little bit of bone loss and teeth may shift, Plus when you chew with the teeth, there is a, this is for you, there is a pounding effect on their teeth, so if these are the entities and these are possibilities, what’s going to happen? So That can cause the chewing to separate the teeth and create a space, the most common of all is the cavity. So, when you have a cavity in between the teeth, sometimes you do not know that you have a cavity in between the teeth because it’s not visible from the top, but it creates a space between the teeth and foot packs and that’s why you have pain. So, most of the time, pain is because of two reasons. One is if you have a cavity, and that’s why the food packs there and causes dentin to be exposed and dentin causes sensitivity, And the second one is food is back in the gums, then it pushes the gums away and exposes the root surface and poses a sensitivity. So pain and sensitivity are common when food is packed there. Now the third reason is the gum recession. Now there are a couple of reasons. Number one is a periodontal disease will cause gum recession. Number 2 is aging just like you have hair loss. The aging will do gum loss also, or gum recession. So, the gums are tight in between the teeth during a younger age so there is no space for food to pack. When age advances or if you have gum disease advances, it creates a gum recession, creates a space between the teeth and creates a food packing there now. This is kind of a little dangerous because it can cause both of those things. If food packs in between the teeth, not only does it cause gum disease, but it stays there Bacteria can cause cavities in the teeth, so you have to take care of this one and find out what is the reason and fix it. Most of the time it is a cavity, so we fix the cavity, establish the contact with the tooth and food will stop packing there. Sometimes the gap is created between the teeth, then we can make a crown on that tooth and establish contact with adjacent teeth. Sometimes we do inlay, on-lay depending upon the situation and then we establish the contract, Once the contact is created, food is not going to be packed there. How to take care of the food packing before you get the treatment. Number one, the best thing is to use a Waterpik. When you use a Waterpik, whatever the food packs in between the teeth with the force of the water spray, is going to remove. So Waterpik is very safe and very nice, so I would suggest every single person buy a cordless Waterpik. Number 2. Toothpick. Don’t create a habit of using a toothpick all the time. If food is packed then something is wrong. Go to the dentist and get it fixed. Otherwise, you’re going to have a problem. The third one is a brush called the PROXA brush. It’s spelt P-R-O-X-A, PROXA brush means a brush that goes in between the teeth. These are very useful and helpful. Floss will never help you to remove the food pack in between the teeth. So try not to use the floss, but instead of that you use the proxy brush, Waterpik or even a toothpick, and that will take care of it. But visit the dentist to find out what is the cause of food packing there and get it fixed, thank you.