Can popcorn cause an abscess?

Popcorn can be a delicious, low calorie snack but it can cause tooth problems. Along with the occasional uncooked kernel contributing to cracks in teeth, the indigestible brown husks can wedge into the space between the gum and tooth. This can be especially prevalent around partially impacted lower wisdom teeth or patients with periodontal disease. It is not all that unusual to discover a condition called pericoronitis caused by a popcorn husk that has become wedged under the flap of skin that covered the wisdom tooth, or a periodontal abscess contributed to a husk caught between the gums on back teeth. The husk has to be removed to resolve this sort of infection which acts like a ’splinter’ in skin. Although small it can cause a localized infection and a great deal of pain. Once the husk is removed, the patient is usually placed on antibiotics and instructed to rinse frequently with warm salt water until the infection is gone.

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