A 41-year-old man had to undergo an open heart surgery after he developed an infection from using various objects to dislodge a piece of popcorn that was stuck in his teeth.
According to Fox News, Adam Martin from Cornwall, England went to the movies with his wife in September 2019 and had eaten some popcorn. After that, he realised that a piece of popcorn was stuck in one of his back teeth and was unable to remove it for three days.
He said he had tried all kinds of things – a toothpick, a pen lid, a piece of wire and even a metal nail – to remove it but to no avail. Due to his repeated attempts at trying to remove the piece of food, Adam damaged his surrounding gum while doing so.
About a week later, Martin started feeling unwell. He had night sweats, headache and fatigue which he thought were all symptoms of the flu.
However, a month later in October, Martin still had not recovered from the symptoms and went to see his doctor. He was diagnosed with a mild heart murmur, which indicates an underlying heart problem.
Martin was then sent home, but as he continued to feel unwell, he went to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
“I had a feeling that there was something seriously wrong. I was sleeping an awful lot and I felt terrible,” he said.
“I had aches and pains in my legs and I just did not feel right at all. I was admitted to hospital the same day for tests. By this point, I was very worried.”
“I felt quite ill and I knew I was not right at all.”
Further scans showed that Martin’s heart was damaged due to an infection. This means that the symptoms he felt earlier were actually signs of endocarditis, an infection of the lining of the interior surfaces of the chambers of the heart, according to Healthline.
This infection occurs when bacteria from the mouth, skin, intestines and other areas of the body enters the bloodstream.
Martin then had to undergo a seven-hour open heart surgery to repair his mitral valve and to replace his aortic valve.
“My heart was not properly working anymore. It was essentially wrecked. The infection had eaten the valves away,” he said.
“If I had gone to the dentist in the first place then none of this would have happened. At one point it was touch and go. It was the worst experience of my life.”
“I wasn’t far off death’s door and I am extremely lucky. The popcorn stuck in my teeth is the only possible cause I can think of. I am never eating popcorn again that’s for sure.”
“It’s crazy to think all this happened because of that. It was something so trivial.”
Meanwhile, Martin’s wife, said that her husband’s infection could have easily been treated with antibiotics if it had been caught sooner.
“Any sign of a toothache, bleeding gums, an abscess — get it checked out. Your gums are a bacterial highway to your heart,” she said.
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