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Using your teeth as tools or a bad habit of nibbling on pencils and pens, or biting off your fingernails can pose multiple threats to your oral health. Beyond the chance of chipping a tooth, it’s likely that a piece can break off and become lodged between your teeth or gum line. In most situations, these things can be loosened and removed by rinsing your mouth or giving it a good brushing.

The dental professionals at Michael P. Gaudio, D.M.D. offer a few basic tips to safely remove the object from your mouth.

Even if you’re experiencing pressure, discomfort or pain, it’s important to stay calm and be patient about clearing the object away. You should never try to use toothpicks or sharp, pointed tools to pry the object loose, as this could injure your gums and potentially damage your teeth.

Try to vigorously rinse your mouth with salt water. This could loosen the object and help soothe the gums. It’s wise not to rinse with antiseptic mouthwash as this could actually irritate your gums.

If rinsing fails to loosen the object, you should turn to waxed dental floss to remove an object that is stuck in the gum line. The waxy coating allows the strand to slide easier between teeth to worked around the foreign object. You should never force the floss into place, as it could seriously injure your gums.

If your still can’t remove the foreign object from your mouth, you should call Michael P. Gaudio, D.M.D.’s office in Wallingford, Connecticut at 203-265-3355 to have it professionally extracted.