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Do you have an area in your mouth where food always tends to get stuck? This is known as a food trap? This is a common complaint heard by dental professionals. Even with diligent brushing and flossing, those with food traps in their teeth may find that they are unable to keep these areas clean. If left untreated, food traps may lead to more serious dental issues.

What causes food traps?

Our teeth are designed to chew and break down our food and ideally deflect the food away instead of trapping it. However, since this isn’t always the case, here are some scenarios that can lead to a food trap forming:

Loose contacts- Our teeth should be tight enough together to prevent food from trapping in between. A loose or open contact between two teeth is the biggest cause of food traps. This can happen when a filling isn’t done tight enough to the neighboring tooth or if teeth shift naturally over time. However, natural teeth can have a loose contact even when there are no fillings present.

Broken tooth- A broken filling or tooth will leave a space that can trap food. There will usually be sharp and uneven areas that will be difficult to keep clean.

Gum recession- Receding gums can result in the loss of the triangle-shaped piece of gum tissue usually found between the teeth.
Without the gum tissue filling in these spaces, food tends to get trapped here.

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Dental issues caused by food traps:

Dental cavities- Areas with food traps are prone to decay. When an area is trapping food, it is also trapping bacteria. Certain types of cavity-causing bacteria digest the foods that we eat and produce acids that lead to dental cavities.

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Bad breath- The trapped food and bacteria begin to break down. An unpleasant smell is accompanied with the breakdown of food by bacteria.

Sore and bleeding gums- In areas that trap food, patients complain of irritated and sore gums. This is caused by inflammation due to the food and bacteria. Possible trauma to the gums from trying to remove the food is another factor.

Treatment of food traps:

If you have an area that is trapping food, talk to your dentist. Usually, food traps can be eliminated with a simple dental filling to close the contact between the teeth. If left untreated, serious issues with decay or gum disease will occur. Call and book a dental exam today and say goodbye to those annoying food traps for good.