Getting food stuck between your teeth is a common enough problem to have, but your gums? That's a little rarer. Unfortunately, if you're having this problem, it's probably not a good sign. Here's what it likely means and some ideas for what you can do about it.
What The Gums Should be Doing
Gums aren't meant to let anything get beneath them. They ordinarily form a tight seal around the top of a tooth. This protects the tooth from coming into contact with bacteria, plaque, and acidic food or drinks that can potentially damage the tooth. It's important because only the exposed part of your teeth are covered in enamel. The rest doesn't have an enamel layer, so it's more vulnerable.
What's Happening Now
If food is getting underneath your gums, it likely means two things. The first is that you probably have gum disease.
When gum disease strikes, it causes the gums to start becoming looser and more inflamed, or swollen. This means that they no longer form a tight seal around the teeth, and food can slide under the edge of your gums. This is more common with things like popcorn kernels and other thin, hard substances, but it's possible for any kind of food debris to get stuck under your gums with severe enough gum disease.
The second thing is that as you may have guessed, your gums are not only unhealthy, but your teeth may be as well. The more often food gets under your gumline, the higher the risk of you developing a cavity under your gums on the tooth.
What to Do About It
The fact of the matter is, you need help from a dentist for this. Gums rarely start gapping away from the teeth until the later stages of gum disease. Unfortunately, later stages of gum disease can't be treated or improved upon at home. It is up to a dentist or a periodontist to help.
Periodontists are experts in dealing with sick gums. They can help you to beat gum disease in just a few treatments, or even less, depending upon the severity of your gum disease. But they also have all the training you've come to expect from a general dentist, so if there's a problem with your tooth, like a cavity, they can help with that, too.
Gapping gums are a serious problem and one that should never be ignored. If food is getting under the edge of your gumline on a regular basis, seek help right away before you end up with some permanent damage to your teeth.