Popcorn stuck in man’s tooth leads to life-threatening infection, open heart surgery

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A 41-year-old British man who attempted to dislodge a piece of popcorn stuck in his teeth using various objects claims he later developed a life-threatening infection that required him to undergo open heart surgery.

Adam Martin, a firefighter and father of three from Cornwall, England, said he noticed the piece of popcorn stuck in a back tooth after he and his wife watched a movie in September. For three days, he was unable to remove the popcorn. He claims to have used multiple objects — a pen lid, a toothpick, a piece of wire and even a metal nail — to remove the food, but was unsuccessful, and even damaged his surrounding gum when doing so.

A week later, Martin began to suffer from night sweats, fatigue, headaches— all of which he initially thought were signs of the flu but would later learn were signs of endocarditis, or an infection of the endocardium, “the lining of the interior surfaces of the chambers of the heart,” according to Healthline. The infection occurs when bacteria from the mouth, skin, intestines and other areas of the body enters the bloodstream.

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