Does food regularly get stuck in one particular area of your mouth? This is a common issue experienced by many patients while eating. This area where food becomes stuck is called a food trap.
Do Food Traps Affect Oral Health?
For most people, a food trap is a simple annoyance. However, for others, food traps have a negative impact on oral health. When stuck food is removed quickly after a meal, there is almost no impact on oral health. When stuck food is left to sit for a while, it increases the chance of damaging teeth and gums.
Acid Wear / Acid Erosion
When teeth are exposed to acidic foods or drinks, the tooth’s enamel begins to thin or wear away. The thinning or wearing away of enamel due to acids is known or acid wear. Acid wear causes teeth to take on a darkened look as the enamel thins. The thinner enamel makes it easier to see the darker dentin located under the enamel. Thinning enamel also makes teeth more sensitive when consuming cold foods and beverages.
Gum Disease / Gingivitis
If you have ever had swollen and bleeding gums, it was most likely due to lack of flossing. When food is not removed from teeth and under the gums, the gums begin to swell and bleed. In serious cases, infections develop under the gums which cause extreme pain. Stuck food has the potential to cause the same issues.
Cavities / Dental Decay
Leftover food particles increase the chance of tooth decay or cavities. Certain bacteria in the mouth interact with stuck food and produce harmful substances that damage the tooth’s enamel. Just another reason why regular flossing is vital to oral health.
Bad Breath / Halitosis
Food left stuck in a food trap causes bad breath after time. As the food interacts with bacteria and begins to decay, the smell intensifies.
Causes Of Food Traps
Food traps may be caused by one or more factors in the mouth. Common causes include:
Bone Loss / Periodontitis
Bone loss is due to periodontitis which occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. As the bone level in the mouth shrinks, the gums that lie on top of the bone begin to lower as well. Lower gum levels leave a triangular shaped gap between teeth that create a perfect food trap.
Spaces Between Teeth / Diastemas
Teeth that are not touching each other leave a gap or space between them. A space between two teeth that do not touch each other is called a diastema. These spaces can become regular food traps.
Deep Grooves / Fissures
Fissures or deep grooves on the top of molar or premolar teeth allow food to become stuck on top of teeth when chewing.
A broken down tooth sometimes creates areas where food may become stuck.
Old dental fillings that break down may also cause an area for food to become stuck. Improperly placed dental restorations may also cause an easy way for food to become trapped.
Treatment Of Food Traps
The treatment for a food trap depends on the cause of the food trap.
Spaces Between Teeth – Closing the space between teeth is commonly done using orthodontic treatment. Traditional metal braces or Invisalign may be used. Dental bonding and dental veneers may also be used to close smaller spaces.
Deep Grooves – The tops of teeth with deep grooves can be filled in with dental filling materials to make it harder for food to become stuck.
Broken Teeth – Depending on the level of damage, a broken tooth may be fixed with a dental filling or a dental crown.
Damaged Dental Fillings – Damaged or worn down dental fillings will require replacement to deal with food traps.
If you have a food trap or think you one, we have treatment options to help you avoid stuck food. Contact us for your free consultation.
About Dr. Joseph Salvaggio
Located in Brampton, Ontario Dr. Joseph Salvaggio has been practicing general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry for over 20 years. He enjoys interacting with his patients and helping to restore their oral health for better overall health as well. Meeting new patients, interacting and educating them is one of Dr. Salvaggio’s biggest joys. We encourage you to read our reviews or call us with any dental questions you have. We look forward to speaking with you and meeting you soon.