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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Dangers of Popcorn

Dr. Vincent Wan


There is a snack that has found itself becoming increasingly popular these past few years.  It has long been around, a staple at the cinema or at home in front of the TV.  It has, however, had a rebranding.  No longer simply a junk food full of sugar, salt, oil and fat, it is now a healthier alternative to packet chips and lollies.  Its name is popcorn.

You have probably seen different brands and their version of packet popcorn at the local supermarket.  Hard to believe, but popcorn is now supposedly a healthier choice.  I guess it’s better for you depending on what you compare it to.  It is stocked right next to the packet chips with all their salt and saturated fat.  It is made from corn and corn is a heathy vegetable.  However, the same bad argument can be made for chips and potatoes. Unfortunately, packet popcorn is just not that good for you.

Worse, packet popcorn is bad for your teeth.  Hard kernels that haven’t popped are a leading cause of broken teeth.  Sometimes the kernel doesn’t fully break a tooth, but causes a crack which can be sore to bite on and sensitive to cold.  I have seen many patients need fillings, and even root canal treatments and crowns due to popcorn.

Popcorn is also a nightmare to clean away from your teeth and gums.  As you bite into popcorn, it breaks up in tiny pieces which easily trap in the grooves of your teeth and between your teeth.  These tiny pieces are notoriously difficult to get out even with thorough brushing and flossing.  Popcorn husks can also find their way under the gumline and cause gum soreness and swelling.

Don’t let popcorn fool you.  It is not as healthy as they may lead you to believe.  It is definitely a risk for your teeth and gums.