food stuck, floss between teeth

Food stuck between teeth after eating?  Pieces of meat and vegetables stuck? Do you find that after eating you need to floss to get food removed?  Can be a bit annoying but let’s find out why.

Common causes of food trap between teeth:

  • Not flossing regularly thereby causing an accumulation of plaque and bacteria
  • A filling between a tooth recently broke
  • There are one or more cavities between two adjacent teeth, and these cavities have chipped off
  • A crown adjacent to a tooth has chipped off
  • A piece of the tooth broke off
  • A tooth has recently moved and shifted
  • A group of teeth have moved and have caused multiple gaps

How to solve the food trap issue:

  • The most common cause of food trap is likely from insufficient flossing, daily floss may help immensely to remove plaque and food debris.  A thicker glide type floss may help. Wrap the floss around one finger on each hand, snap the floss gently between the teeth, slide the floss along the gums in front and back of the tooth, and then gently pull the floss back up.
  • If the chipped is due to cavities, a filling may be required to close the gap
  • If a piece of the crown has chipped off, a new crown may be required
  • If an old filling has broken off, a new tooth colored filling may be required.
  • Depending on how much of the tooth has broken, a filling, root canal and crown, or extraction with a future implant and crown may be needed
  • If a single tooth is moving distally, a new restoration on the tooth (ie. Filling or crown) may increase the size of the tooth and help close the gap.
  • If a few teeth are moving and causing generalized gaps, orthodontic treatment or veneers and crowns may aesthetically and functionally close the spaces.

If you have any questions on why food stuck between teeth, be sure to contact your family dentist or hygienist.


Peter Chien, DMD, MPH

(425) 614-1600