Do you have an area in your mouth where food always gets stuck? Need to floss after a meal and end up pulling out leftover food? This is known as a food trap.

What is a food trap?

A food trap is an area in the mouth where food gets stuck after a meal, usually between the gums and the tooth. Food traps may lead to tooth decay or pain if left uncleaned or untreated by a dentist.

Typically, you want all of your teeth in your mouth to be close to each other without gaps or spaces where food can accumulate. When food accumulates in a food trap area, it may cause mouth pain, gum soreness, redness and bad breath. Bad breath occurs when the food decomposes, and this may also turn into a cavity if left untreated.

What causes food traps?

An open area between two teeth is the biggest cause of good traps. This may occur when a dental filling isn’t close enough to the nearby tooth, if the tooth naturally came into the mouth with a space or if teeth gradually shift over time. Another cause may be a cracked tooth or a tooth with a cavity that has a space in the tooth that can trap food.  A dental procedure such as wisdom teeth removal may leave behind flaps in the gums, which can trap some food. 

Should I be worried about food traps?

If food becomes trapped infrequently, there is little cause for concern. However, if it occurs often, it will lead to bad breath and tooth decay.

When should I see a dentist?

For the occasional time when food gets stuck in your teeth, flossing and rinsing after meals can help avoid any adverse effects. However, if food is getting trapped regularly or in deeper areas in the gums or teeth where floss can’t reach, it is time to see a dentist. 

Treatment options for fixing a food trap

One fix for food traps is to add a dental filling to one or both of the teeth affected by the food trap to close the gap. If the teeth next to the food trap have decay or have any major issue, the dentist may suggest using a dental crown to fix the problem. A dental crown fits over a tooth, and it can be made slightly larger than the existing tooth.

If you have a food trap area, your dentist will be able to diagnose the cause of your food trap and suggest an appropriate treatment plan.

 

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