How to get rid of small food particles caught in the throat

Updated April 17, 2017

Lodged food particles cause discomfort no matter how small they are. Inflammation, improper chewing, illness and injury are all reasons that contribute to small particles of food becoming lodged in the throat. Symptoms that food may be lodged in the throat include discomfort, dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, and excess drooling. Clearing the food particles is imperative in relieving symptoms and preventing bad breath and infection.

Attempt to swallow. Swallowing saliva can help to push small particles of food particles through the oesophagus and into the digestive tract. There are also digestive enzymes within saliva that can help soften and dissolve small particles.

Cough deeply, forcing a large amount of air through your throat. The pressure created by the air moving though the throat will dislodge the food particles and relieve the distress symptoms.

Gargle sterile saline solution. The saline will draw out excess liquid that causes inflamed tissue, which is often the cause of trapped food. Saline solution can be purchased at local stores or made at home using eight ounces of warm water and one teaspoon of salt.


Dysphagia may be a sign of another serious underlying condition such as cancer, neurological disorders and pharyngeal diverticula. Do not attempt to remove the particles by inserting anything into the mouth or throat as this can force food particles deeper into the throat.

Things You'll Need

  • Saline solution
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About the Author

Amanda Goldfarb became a freelance writer in 2006. She has written many articles for "Oviedo TRI-Lights," "Cool Runnings" and several other health- and fitness-related blogs. She has also contributed to her town's tri-club newsletter. Goldfarb obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Central Florida and is currently pursuing a degree in emergency medical services.