Why Does It Smell When I Floss?

FlossingFlossing is one of the things many people neglect to do in their daily oral hygiene. I know many times I’ll forget to do it, either because I don’t think it’s necessary, or because I’m late for something. Flossing takes time, and it’s something many of us aren’t willing to fit into our schedule.

But oftentimes, I’ll start flossing again, for one reason or another, and after I do, I find that my floss smells really bad. I mean, really, really, bad. And the question that comes to most people is: Why does it smell when I floss?

The answer is a rather easy answer. It’s outcome may not be so easy, but the answer is simply that it’s smells because of either disease and/or decay.

The Smell of Disease

If you smell something after you floss, it could mean that you have some sort of disease going on with your teeth or gums. The reason behind this is because of the plaque and food buildup that is happening between your teeth.

As this plaque builds up between your teeth, they typically will get in under the gums, and start rotting itself and the gums away. Usually a sign for this will be that your gums start bleeding after you floss in that particular area.

You can also get a bad smell if you have a cavity on a tooth. The cavity comes about pretty much the same way the gums become infected.

When there is a build up of plaque against the teeth, the enamel protecting the teeth will start wearing away. Once the plaque has broken through the enamel, the plaque and bacteria will start rotting out everything around and in that tooth. And soon enough you’ve got a cavity in that tooth.

If you have a smell coming with your floss after you use it, then there is a chance that you have some sort of disease going on in between your teeth.

The Smell of Decay

Decay is usually the answer to when you smell something with your floss. Disease is possible, and shouldn’t be ruled out. But typically, when you smell something on your floss, it because of decaying food.Poor Teeth

As you are well aware, when you eat something, you back molars will grind up whatever you are eating, and mix it with saliva to help it get ready for the stomach. While your teeth are grinding it up, some food can get lodged in between your teeth.

If those food particles are left to themselves, they’ll start to decay, which, later on in life, can cause disease and other things you don’t want. These decaying bits of food could also be the reason you have a stale sort of halitosis.

Contrary to a popular misconception, brushing your teeth doesn’t take care of the problem. The reason being that brushing cleans the fronts and backs of teeth, but not in between them, where the food particles can get stuck. That’s why people take up flossing to get between their teeth.

So if you smell something after flossing, it probably just means that you’ve got something stuck in your teeth, and should make sure to floss more regularly than you do.

Floss to be Healthy

Flossing will help keep any buildup around your teeth to a minimum amount. So be flossing, and you will be healthy. Or at least you should be healthy.

Flossing isn’t effective if you don’t do it right. It’s not that hard at all to floss, it just a matter of know the right procedure on how to get the job done. You want to start by taking a piece of floss and get it tight between your two hands.

As you bring the floss between your teeth, you want to make the floss go in a ‘C’ shape, with the tooth you are C Shapedflossing being in the middle of the ‘C’. Make sure you go up and down on that tooth, and also go underneath the gum line, as you move down the tooth. That way you will dislodge all the build up in and around the tooth.

Consistency is where the benefits of flossing are. If you only floss once a month, you probably won’t see many benefits. But if you floss every day (or after every meal, which is suggested by most dentists), then you will see the benefits of why you are flossing.

Floss to Cure the Smell

Keep on flossing, and within a few days, you shouldn’t smell anything after you floss. If you do, you just need to keep on flossing and it should clear up.

Like I said in the beginning of the article, sometimes you don’t have time to floss, and so flossing can seem like a hassle. If that is you, then take a look at this article, where I explore the pro’s and con’s of dental floss and water flossers.


How has your life been changed by flossing more regularly? I would love to know about it. Let me know about it in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “Why Does It Smell When I Floss?”

  1. I always had a battle in my mind if flossing really helps in my mouth/teeth hygiene, and truly it does. I am just really disgusted with the smell of it because even after having a cleaning, it still smells. A regular visit to your favorite dentist for clean-up still wins.

    • Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you came to the conclusion that flossing does help. Hopefully you can figure out why it still smells after a cleaning. But like you said, regular visits to your dentist is still a good way to get your teeth properly cleaned and checked out for any health issues.


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