Whether you like it salted, buttered, or sweet, following proper oral hygiene practices is essential when eating popcorn. Although it’s a fairly healthy snack, the hard kernels and thin shells can damage your teeth and gums. In honor of National Popcorn Day on January 19, here are a few facts about the history of popcorn, as well as steps you can take to keep your smile in top shape after indulging in the tasty treat.
The Evolution of Popcorn
While it’s estimated that popcorn was discovered nearly 4,000 years ago, it became widely popular with numerous Native American tribes, including the Aztecs and Peruvians. These tribes used popcorn for ceremonial purposes, making ornaments, headpieces, necklaces, and garlands. As this treat continued to evolve, many households made it part of their breakfast routine. Families would pour popcorn into a bowl, top it with different fruits and berries, and enjoy it with milk. It also became a popular snack during the Great Depression at fairs and carnivals because it was an easy, inexpensive treat that everyone could enjoy.
How Can Popcorn Harm Your Teeth?
Popcorn can be harmful to your teeth in a few different ways. For starters, the hard, unpopped kernels left over in a bag of popcorn can easily crack or break your teeth if you bite down on one unknowingly. Additionally, there are thin shells attached to the kernels of popcorn that can become stuck between teeth, encouraging the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. If these shells migrate underneath your gums, it can cause pain and even infection.
How to Safely Enjoy Popcorn
You can avoid the damaging effects of popcorn by practicing some extra care and a few simple oral hygiene tips. When enjoying a bowl of popcorn, make sure to remove any unpopped kernels before snacking so you don’t accidentally fracture a tooth. Additionally, make sure to rinse, brush, and floss when you’re done eating and pay special attention to remove any kernel shells between your teeth. If you’re in a location where you can’t brush your teeth right away, like a movie theater, have water on hand to do a quick rinse.
If you’re ready to enjoy National Popcorn Day but need to improve your oral hygiene routine, visit the professionals at iCare Dentistry in Gwinnett County, GA. Not only do the dentists on staff provide preventative, restorative, and cosmetic services, they also tailor every patient’s experience to their specific needs, from helping with adult dental anxiety to making children feel comfortable. To learn more about how iCare Dentistry can preserve the health of your smile, visit them online or call (770) 609-6106 to schedule an appointment today.