Q. How to prevent food lodgement in the retromolar region?

Answered by
Dr. Blake Louscher
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 21, 2020

Hello doctor,

I am a 19-year-old male. I have noticed that small pieces of food (meat) would get stuck in the retromolar region in the mouth. I did not see this before in my life. Is this normal? What can I do to prevent food from getting stuck there?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Thank you for taking the time to figure out why that is happening to you.

Given your age, my first inclination is that you may have your third molars (wisdom teeth) starting to erupt behind your second molars. Have you ever been told that you have third molars developing? Have you had your wisdom teeth removed?

If they are erupting, they can create a small pocket in the tissues that can harbor food particles. This is often when your dentist would suggest removal of the wisdom teeth because packing this food can cause gum problems and cavities.

My advice would be to see your dentist and ask them to evaluate your wisdom teeth to see if they are causing problems and should be removed. This is a normal procedure for patients of your age and generally goes smoothly.

Thank you doctor,

My wisdom teeth were removed two years ago. I think I have used the wrong word to describe the location, so I will describe it. The item is a fluffy texture that seems circle that is on both the left and right side of the mouth, after all teeth but before the throat. My tongue can reach if I make it go all the way in either direction. In that fluffy texture, is where the small particles of meat can get stuck.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Pictures can help so much in situations like these. This sounds like you might be talking about your tonsils. We have a set of tonsils at the back of the mouth that play an important role in our immune system. For some people, they can grow to be very large and require removal as they can obstruct the airway. Additionally, some people have large crypts (holes) in their tonsils that can accumulate food debris and other deposits. For example, have you heard of tonsil stones? You should get an image to see if we are on the same page. If that is the area in question, then it would be more appropriate to see your general physician or an ENT doctor to know about whether or not they should be addressed.

Thank you doctor,

We are talking about tonsils. They are not large and do not obstruct the airway. The crypts are small, so all the food particles that I have ever gotten out of there were all less than 0.05 inches.

I have not heard of tonsil stones. I imagined that having food particles stuck there for a long time could create an environment for bacteria, so I brush it out. That works, but it certainly was not a part of my routine before, and I would not like to be different from other people.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I am glad we are on the same page. I would consider seeing if your doctor thinks they are large enough to warrant removal. Removal provides a number of health benefits and is best done while young and resilient. Gargling with a saltwater rinse may be more comfortable than brushing them. This is a normal problem, so do not feel out of place.

Hi doctor,

I am so glad that I now know what the problem is. Thank you.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

You are welcome. Keep in touch for further doubts.

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