How to Get a Popcorn Kernel Out of Your Throat

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: November 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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Getting popcorn stuck in your throat is irritating and can prove challenging if you can’t get it out. You can’t leave it there because, unfortunately, it won’t go away on its own.

Here’s our advice on how to remove a popcorn kernel from your throat.

Try the Following to Get a Popcorn Kernel Out of Your Throat

These tips should also help you remove popcorn husks and hulls from your throat too.

  1. Don’t panic
  2. Try a drink
  3. Eat a slice of bread
  4. Try a Waterpik
  5. Swallow some olive oil
  6. Perform the Heimlich Maneuver
  7. Go to the ER
_Popcorn Kernel stuck in Throat step by step instructions
Popcorn stuck in the throat

7 Steps to Removing Popcorn From Your Throat

If you are left with a scratchy, irritated throat that feels like a lump, it’s likely you have a pesky kernel stuck in your throat. It is important not to panic, as there are several ways to get a popcorn kernel out for your throat. Continue reading to learn what you should do.

1. Don’t Panic!

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of something sticking in your throat, don’t panic. Try to breathe through your nose and think clearly about what you must do. By panicking, you will only make a potentially dangerous situation worse.

2. Start with a Drink

The first thing you should do is get a glass of water. As you take a sip, tilt your chin to your chest and try swallowing forcefully.

If that doesn’t loosen the popcorn kernel and wash it down, try a soft drink. Sometimes the carbonation in soda helps wash down the popcorn. You can try gurgling the soda if it is stuck near the top of your throat.

Another drink you can try is milk. Try to gulp as you swallow. You can also try thicker drinks, such as a smoothie. It can pull the kernel off your throat. If that doesn’t work, move to the next step.

If your popcorn is stuck in your braces, check out this article Can You Eat Popcorn with Braces?

3. Eat a Slice of Bread

The next step is to eat a slice of bread. You can also try rice with a little stickiness or a banana. These foods do a good job of grabbing onto foreign objects, such as the popcorn kernel, and they can remove it and take it down your throat.

You can also try eating a tortilla because it can grab onto the popcorn. It is important to eat a larger piece of bread or tortilla so that it has a chance of dislodging the popcorn kernel. However, you need to be careful because eating larger bites can be a choking hazard.

eat bread -How to Get a Popcorn Kernel Out of Your Throat
Try eating a slice of bread to remove the kernel

Some people recommend swallowing hard foods. Rather than choosing soft bread, choose hard bread such as a baguette. You can also take a slice of bread and toast it to make it hard. You can also try saltines or cereal, as they may be able to pull the kernel off of your throat.

Other soft foods you can try include mashed bananas, ice cream, peanut butter, and mashed potatoes. They are all sticky and can latch onto the popcorn kernel. Try to swallow these soft foods without chewing so that they can be effective. You might also try warm honey.

4. Try a Waterpik

If the above methods fail, you can take a Waterpik. This tool is normally used to remove food from between your teeth, but you can squirt it down your throat. Do not use the highest setting; you should keep it on low power.

5. Swallow Some Olive Oil

Another possible remedy is to swallow a little bit of olive oil. Another slippery food is an egg yolk, if you can stomach the idea of swallowing a raw egg!

6. Try the Heimlich Maneuver

As a last effort at home, the Heimlich maneuver is designed to dislodge food particles from your throat. You will need a person who knows how to execute this move. They should stand behind you and clasp their hands around your waist. Once they grasp their wrist, they can push it upward. They should repeat until the popcorn kernel comes loose and is expelled by the air bursting from the lungs.

Learn how to do the Heimlich maneuver on yourself in this article, How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Yourself.

7. Go to the ER

If you are still unable to remove the popcorn kernel from your throat, you may need to go to the emergency room. The popcorn kernel can lead to other issues, such as swelling or interference with swallowing and breathing. It can even cause an infection in your throat. You need to go have it removed right away. They can use a numbing agent to painlessly remove the popcorn kernel and give you medication if your throat is scratched or irritated.

If you think you’ve had popcorn stuck in your throat for days, then you need to see a doctor ASAP!

Will a Popcorn Kernel Dissolve?

The popcorn kernel will not dissolve. Unlike other foods, they do not break down when they are exposed to saliva.

You might be thinking, “how long does it take for a popcorn kernel to dissolve?” and be hoping you can just wait for the popcorn kernel to go. To get it out, you will need to get it to move when you swallow drinks or food, or you will need to have it removed. It will not remove itself!

Do Liquids Help Get a Popcorn Kernel Out of Your Throat?

Yes, liquids can help to dislodge a popcorn kernel from your throat.

Taking a sip of water creates a small amount of pressure in your mouth and throat. This pressure can help push the kernel down your throat and your stomach. In addition, the liquid will help to lubricate the kernel, making it less likely to stick to your throat in the first place.

Which Liquids Are the Best at Dislodging a Popcorn Kernel From Your Throat?

One option is to drink a glass of water. The water will help to wash the kernel down. Another option is to drink a cup of milk. The milk will help to lubricate your throat, making it easier for the kernel to slide down. You can also try drinking a cup of juice. The juice’s acidity can help break down the kernel, making it easier to swallow.

Soda pops and fizzy drinks may also offer some relief. One user over on Reddit found relief from their stuck popcorn kernel by gargling on some Coca-cola. If you don’t have, or like Coke, any carbonated drink should also work in the same way.

In most cases, any of these liquids will help get the kernel out of your throat. However, if you still have difficulty, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

So next time you’re enjoying some popcorn, keep a drink handy just in case!

Does Eating Help Get Popcorn Out of Your Throat?

There’s no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on the individual. Some people find that eating helps clear popcorn from their throat, while others find that it only worsens the problem.

Foods that might help dislodge popcorn from your throat

  • Soft bread – don’t chew it too much
  • Sticky rice – the stickier the better
  • Bananas
  • Ice cream
  • Honey
  • Oatmeal
  • Mashed potato
  • Peanut butter

These are just a few suggestions – ultimately, you’ll need to experiment to see what works best for you. If you’re struggling to get the popcorn out, it’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

There Might Not Even Be a Kernel in Your Throat!

Sometimes, it feels like a popcorn kernel is stuck in your throat when there isn’t anything there. The more you think about it, swallow and worry, the worse it gets as your anxiety builds. This is called globus sensation.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from a condition known as globus sensation, or the feeling of having a lump in the throat. In most cases, no actual lump is present, and the sensation is caused by muscle tension or gastrointestinal problems.

The popcorn you’ve eaten may have also scratched the back of your throat causing a similar sensation.

Final Words

We hope you never have to deal with this issue; however, you can now be sure that by following these steps, you’ll eventually get the popcorn dislodged from your throat – if all else fails, the ER can remove it for you.

Remember that you mustn’t leave it in there if you’ve tried everything at home and nothing worked. Your throat cannot digest a popcorn kernel and it could cause you all sorts of problems if left in there.

Now that you’ve got the steps to resolve the problem, you can confidently chow down on some delicious popcorn.

If you’re also worried about popcorn making you fat, check out our article Does Popcorn Make You Fat?

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