Throat Infections

Can Food Stuck in your Throat Cause Infections?

Elsie Goycoolea
By Elsie Goycoolea. Updated: January 20, 2017
Can Food Stuck in your Throat Cause Infections?

It is not that common for people to go by several days with food stuck in the throat mainly because often drinking some fluid or eating some other food will eventually push it down the esophagus. Whether that is down the throat or out of the mouth, food particles will eventually make their way out of the throat sooner or later. However, as is the case of a small fish bone, it may go unnoticed and will only cause a concern when it starts to cause pain or discomfort possibly due to an infection.

In this OneHowTo article we explain whether food stuck in the throat causes infections.

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  1. Scarring
  2. Mouth Hygiene
  3. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)


Fish bones, olive pits or even dry pieces of bread are common foods that get stuck in the throat. Fish bones can cause muscle tissue damage and pierce the tissue to cause bleeding. Also, olive pits and old bread can scar and irritate the wall lining. As a result, it can cause discomfort, pain and it may lead to an infection.

When the muscle tissue is damaged it works in the same way as an open wound. If it is not treated properly, bacteria and other pathogens will start to proliferate and thrive. You may have to be treated with antibiotics by your doctor and be advised to avoid very hot or cold liquids.

Can Food Stuck in your Throat Cause Infections? - Scarring

Mouth Hygiene

Forgetting to brush your teeth or flossing can not only cause bacteria to start attacking the enamel in your teeth resulting in cavities, but it can help spread this bacteria down your throat. You swallow saliva constantly down your throat and if you are not keeping an optimal mouth hygiene practice you are contributing to harmful pathogens swimming around freely.

Especially if you believe you have some scarring or cuts as a result of food that was stuck in your throat it is imperative that you brush your teeth right after you eat and before you got to bed. Especially at night, there is no movement by your throat muscles to clean and lubricate the area so bacteria have a free ticket to cause some damage.

Can Food Stuck in your Throat Cause Infections? - Mouth Hygiene

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The feeling of having acid running back up your esophagus is called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and it is caused as a result of having very little stomach acid to digest your food. It is essentially food coming back up that is irritating your esophagus to the point of causing an hernia if it is not treated.

Once you chew the food the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens up so that the food can enter the stomach and then will close up. However, our current hectic lifestyles can contribute to the LES opening up again and pushing food back up the throat. This is another way for food pathogens to reach the scarred area in the throat leading to possible infections. If the area is scarred the acidic PH level of the food may worsen then wound and contribute to greater irritation.

Can Food Stuck in your Throat Cause Infections? - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Can Food Stuck in your Throat Cause Infections?, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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1 comment
I was eating a Bosc pear which got stuck in my throat which caused me to vomit, I have since had a sore throat.
OneHowTo Editor
It may have caused a scratch, this is why your throat may still hurt. If it doesn't go away after a couple of days we suggest you pay a visit to the doctor.
Hope this helps
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Can Food Stuck in your Throat Cause Infections?