Is There Something In My Teeth?

I hate talking to people and realizing that I have food in between my teeth, but what’s even worse is if someone I’m talking to has food in their teeth. I stop paying attention to what they’re saying. Questions begin to swirl around in my head. Do I tell them? How do I do it? I don’t want to be rude or insensitive. I don’t want to interrupt them. What do I say and when? To help you get out of this situation, or help get food out of someone else’s teeth, I've realized my own interpretations of psychological theories seem to provide all the answers.

Nature vs. Nurture - For the nature aspect of this theory you want to let things go the "natural" way. Just go with the flow. Ignore that piece of lettuce as you think to yourself, "It will disappear eventually. Relax. And don’t stare at it." You can also give them water and kind of mimic the act of removing food from teeth in order to speed up this natural process.

Now, if letting things go is difficult for you, then nurture it is. Nurture can mean different things for different people. If you are a touchy feely person then you can nurture their mouth to remove the food. Maybe pinch their cheeks or their lips, but only if this is appropriate behavior for the relationship you have with this person. You can also nurture them in a more manipulative sense, by forcing them to order something that won’t get stuck in their teeth. Act like a nurturing/overbearing parent. Tell them the plain yogurt would really help them with their irregular digestion. Or simply say that the soup without any vegetable chunks is the restaurant’s specialty and that they have to get it. However, if they are adamant about ordering the spinach salad and refuse to listen to your lovely and kind advice, don’t get too forceful. You don’t want to draw unnecessary attention and you don’t want to make others feel uncomfortable as you yell about the importance of ordering simple broth. Instead, just be prepared to nurture their mouth after they eat.

Flight or Fight - It’s that simple. If you feel uncomfortable saying anything to the person with the giant piece of spinach in their teeth or if the sight of a person with a ton of poppy seeds in multiple teeth spaces makes you feel physically ill, just leave. You could think of an excuse but to prevent the worst-case scenario – throwing up and then having to explain to the person that their smile made you sick – I suggest running away and never looking back.

The fight aspect of this scenario is when things get tricky. Of course you don’t want to physically harm the person, you just want to gently nudge/hit/touch their mouth area in order to remove the food for them. No talking is required, which makes this method perfect for those of us, like me, who are shy. You don’t want to have to hit the person more than once and you don’t want them to realize you hit them on the mouth, so you need speed, agility and precision. As with many of my methods, practice makes perfect. I suggest using this technique on yourself before you try it on any one else. So, get some food in your teeth. Stand in front of a mirror and literally wipe that smile off your face.

Reverse Psychology - This form of manipulation has been proven effective time and time again. But you’ve got to be sneaky. You want to get the person with food in between their teeth to take action without realizing you've manipulated them to do so. You could go the negative route by saying, "Ugh, I hate flossing after I eat. Do you want a piece of floss?" Then take out some floss and say, "I hate it so much. Get it away from me." The person will basically be forced to take the floss from you and use it on himself or herself. Problem solved. Food removed. Awkward situation averted.

Another way you could use reverse psychology, this time with a positive tone, saying, "I love having food in my teeth. It makes me feel powerful and alive." This brings the focus of the conversation on teeth, which either causes the person to check their teeth or ask you if they have any food in their teeth. To this you coyly respond, "I didn't notice. But, now that you mention it I do see a little something." Both of these situations allow you to tell the person they have something in their teeth without physically saying it. Reverse psychology can be tricky, however, so I suggest only using it if you are a master manipulator.

With these theories you are sure to get out of any potentially awkward food situation clean as a whistle, just like your friend’s teeth.


  1. I went back and read all of your old blog posts, and I'm finally caught up! I cannot wait to continue following you on your pregnancy journey, congratulations!


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