Why Does Flossing Hurt?

In 2016, the American Dental Association, in a statement, stated that flossing is an essential oral hygiene practice that fights off dental-related problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and so on. Flossing is as essential as brushing your teeth, even though it is done less frequently. Unlike brushing, flossing is painful and may cause bleeding, especially if too much pressure is added. This has stopped many from trying it out due to fear of the pain.

However, flossing is not necessarily painful but can hurt when you start it newly, but after some time, you get customized to it, and you master the flossing techniques better.

When you learn the techniques of flossing, flossing becomes easier and less painful, and you become better at it and may teach it better to your friends and family.

Why Does Flossing Hurt?

Flossing entails cleaning and removing food particles stuck between the teeth that may lead to bacteria buildup that can cause dental problems like cavities disease, gum disease, and bad mouth odor. Although brushing helps remove the food particles stuck between the teeth, but doesn’t get deep enough to clear everything off. Only flossing can go that deep in ensuring that everything is made clean.

It’s normal to experience hurt when it is your first time flossing. However, if your teeth are highly sensitive due to the removal of enamel, the outer layer covering your teeth, flossing becomes more painful. Another reason why flossing hurt is that you are doing it wrongly.

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Pain during flossing is normal, but if the bleeding becomes consistent, it may indicate that you have a periodontal or gum disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is estimated that people aged 30 or older do suffer from gum diseases more often. If left untreated, this may lead to swollen gums and bleeding. In advanced stages, you may experience tooth and bone loss. So you should consult a dentist at the early stage to avoid unnecessary pain, and it may warrant the need for a surgical operation to correct certain things in your teeth. Immediately you notice that you are bleeding severely, do consult the dentist. It is easier to arrest the situation at this early stage. As such, you have to know how to floss correctly.

How Do I Floss Properly?

When you floss wrongly, it tends to be more painful and less effective. Flossing has techniques you can implore to ensure it is done correctly and maximize results. Below are the three main flossing techniques for maximum results.

  1. Find the floss best compatible with your teeth: Floss comes in various types, shapes, and colors. The nature of your teeth helps to determine the floss you will use. If your teeth are widely spaced, you must go for a wide flat floss. If your teeth are tightly closed to each other, a thinner and narrower floss will do best. However, if you find flossing very painful, you can try out a water pick to remove in-stuck food particles and bacteria from the teeth.
  2. Floss once daily: For flossing to be effective, it has to be done once a day after your morning brushing. However, some people prefer flossing after eating to ensure that no food particles are lodging around. Either way is good.
  3. Floss Properly: To floss correctly, unspool 12 to 18 inches of floss and hold the floss tightly in between your fingers. You only need to pour nearly two inches of clean floss between your teeth. Allow it to slide, and move the floss gently in a C motion from one inner tooth surface to another. Don’t cut deeply into the gum line. If you do, it might cause you to bleed. Carefully unwind the floss as you progress so that you can use a clean section of floss for each tooth.
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How Often Should I Floss?

The American Dental Association states that it is recommended that you brush your teeth twice daily, morning and night, and floss once daily. However, some individuals floss after meals to ensure no left-out particles between their teeth. This is good, but flossing your tooth daily is okay.

Which Come First: Brushing or Flossing?

Most individuals tend to floss after brushing, a common practice in most households. Surprisingly, a study showed that flossing before brushing with fluoride toothpaste is better as it helps in removing the interdental plaque more effectively than brushing first and then flossing afterward. Flossing before brushing is said to ensure greater retention of r fluoride between teeth

How Long Do You Have to Floss for It not to Hurt?

It takes about a week to two weeks for your teeth to get customized to floss and stop hurting and bleeding. However, this can be less or more depending on the individual. The nature of teeth and gums vary among individuals, which plays a role in determining the rate of compatibility with the floss.


Take your oral health seriously, and one potent way to do this is to brush and floss regularly. Regular flossing doesn’t only help you maintain good oral health; it also helps to prevent the uprising of dental problems that can be easily avoided, and it limits the tooth fall which happens during old age. If you experience consistent bleeding and hurt during flossing, I suggest you consult a dentist immediately or switch to a more subtle alternative.

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