Is Popcorn a Problem for Teeth?

October starts the season of sugary treats when the Halloween candy is lining the aisles, just waiting to be replaced by the treats of the Christmas holiday season. “Hmmm,” you might think, “what could I give out to trick-or-treaters or as a holiday gift instead of a bunch of sugar? I know, popcorn would be a nice change!”

Not so fast…

Popcorn has become a trendy gourmet food with flavors ranging from Dill Pickle to White Truffle Bliss, and sales have exploded in recent years. Now there are reports from the United Kingdom that link this increase in popcorn sales to a doubling of broken and chipped teeth.

How does something that looks so innocent (and healthy) cause so many problems?

Unpopped kernels are the worst offenders, perfect for breaking and cracking teeth when you bite down on them. Be careful and don’t eat all the way down to the bottom of the bag where these tooth foes lurk.

Popcorn husks love to slip between your teeth, and if they stay there, they can lead to an infection or even an abscess. Make sure you floss well after eating popcorn. If a kernel gets lodged between the teeth and ignored for a long period of time, it may result in a loss of bone or tooth.

Popcorn itself creates lactic acid in your mouth, which starts to work on your teeth. Drink plenty of water and chew sugar-free gum after eating popcorn.

Popcorn balls are a sticky popcorn and caramel concoction that will leave your teeth filled with sugary kernels. The same goes for any sweet popcorn treat — it’s just doubling the effects. So try to avoid these.

The bottom line is to brush and floss after eating popcorn and never bite down on a kernel. If you want a list of other Halloween candies to avoid, CLICK HERE.

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