Food Traps – What Are They?

Dr. Christopher Li Etobicoke - Li Family Dental

By Dr. Christopher Li

January 31, 2022

brushing, dental care, flossing, food traps

Food traps are areas of your mouth where food is constantly getting caught. Areas between your tooth and gums, or within the teeth themselves can create food traps increasing the risk of decay. Here we explain what they are and how to treat them.

Common Causes Of Food Traps


There are many possible causes of food traps. Some of the most common causes for food traps include:

  • Gaps between your teeth
  • Teeth grinding that causes wear and tear
  • Improper teeth alignment
  • Cavities
  • Damaged teeth
  • Receding gums and gum pockets
  • Teeth too far above the gum line (supra-eruption)
  • Impacted or partially erupted teeth
  • Poorly shaped or deformed teeth
  • Damaged crowns or fillings

Any area of your mouth where food can get caught is considered a food trap. In some cases, it is nothing but a bother, while in others it really puts your dental health at risk. Either way, you should always mention to your dentist areas of your mouth that tend to trap food. Your dentist can take a look and see if treatment is required.

Food Trap Management


Food traps can be managed and monitored some of the time. It all starts with a rigorous dental hygiene regime. Brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing is very important if you have food traps. Brushing alone isn’t going to cut it. Floss carefully between your teeth, targeting areas you know tend to trap food. If you find you’re not getting at food as well as you’d like, speak to your dentist about a water flosser. This is a great tool that uses forced air and water to gently apply force to help remove food debris under the gums.

Food Trap Monitoring


If you find you are still having issues with food getting caught between your teeth, it’s time to speak to your dentist. Your dentist or hygienist will provide tips and recommend tools to improve your dental regime. Your regular checkups will include monitoring the food traps to see how your regime is working. If it seems you are still having issues, or you want to try something different, treatment can be recommended.

Food Trap Treatment


In more serious cases of food traps, your dentist will recommend one (or more) of the following treatments:

  • Dental Fillings: Your dentist can use fillings to fill the spaces, grooves, pits, etc. on the crown of your tooth to help keep food from getting stuck there. Fillings can also be used between two teeth to fill gaps. If you have existing fillings causing issues they can be replaced.
  • Dental Crowns: Crowns might be needed for larger fillings or to help protect teeth from further damage. If your traps are due to misshapen teeth, crowns can cap the teeth with ideally shaped artificial teeth, or repair damaged or broken teeth.
  • Gum and bone grafts: Gum and bone grafts are required when traps are caused by severe periodontitis or bone loss.
  • Orthodontics: Misalignment issues or large gaps can be treated with orthodontic treatments such as braces.
  • Dental bonding and dental veneers: If you have smaller spaces between your teeth or simple shape issues, bonding can be used to fill, reshape or build up your teeth. Veneers can be used to cover spaces.

If you think you’ve got any of these types of food traps, give us a call at 416-232-2033 or request an appointment by clicking here.


Dr. Christopher Li

About the author

Doctor Christopher Li, DDS
Dr. Chris, as he is affectionately known, is a licensed dentist with over 20 years experience. His caring personality makes even the most tentative person at ease. Patients are constantly commenting about how Dr. Chris is incredible at delivering pain-free freezing, and how he has an amazing chair-side manner.  Dr. Chris loves sharing information with his patients and everyone who has teeth about how to care for their teeth, avoid tooth decay, and the treatments available to help them overcome their tooth pain or other dental issues so they can enjoy life and food to its fullest!

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