The Flossing Stink: Why Flossing Can Cause Bad Breath

Jul 03, 2023

Why Does It Smell When I Floss?

When you notice a smell while flossing, it can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, if you have not flossed regularly or effectively, food particles may be stuck between your teeth or along the gumline. These trapped food particles can start to decay and release an unpleasant odor. Additionally, the smell could be due to bacteria in the mouth. The oral cavity is home to numerous bacteria that naturally reside on teeth and gums. When bacteria feed on leftover food particles or plaque buildup, they produce sulfur compounds with a distinct foul smell. Flossing can disturb these bacteria and release odor-causing compounds. Sometimes, bad breath or a persistent smell during flossing could indicate an underlying dental issue, like tooth decay. Consulting with a dentist can help identify and address any oral health concerns contributing to the unpleasant smell.

Types of Floss And Their Impact On Bad Breath

Not all floss is created equal, and a family dentist in Calgary can help you choose the ideal one. The types include:
  1. Nylon Floss
Nylon floss is a popular and widely used type of dental floss. It is made from multiple strands of nylon filaments twisted together to form a strong and durable thread. Nylon floss is available in various thicknesses and textures, allowing individuals to choose the most suitable option for their oral health needs. It effectively removes plaque and food particles between the teeth and the gum line. Nylon floss glides smoothly between the teeth, making it comfortable for most individuals.
  1. PTFE Floss
PTFE floss is known for its smooth texture, which allows it to glide easily between teeth without shredding or fraying. It is especially beneficial for individuals with sensitive gums or tight spaces between their teeth. PTFE floss is resistant to breakage and can effectively remove plaque and food particles from hard-to-reach areas. Its non-stick characteristic makes it particularly useful for navigating around dental work such as braces, bridges, or dental implants. PTFE floss is also less likely to cause discomfort or bleeding than other floss types.
  1. Thread floss
Thread floss is a type of dental floss comprising a single, wider strand. Unlike traditional floss, composed of multiple thinner strands twisted together, thread floss is a single, flat thread. It is typically made from nylon or other similar materials. Thread floss is thicker and broader than regular floss, making it suitable for individuals who prefer a wider flossing surface or have larger gaps between their teeth.
  1. Flavored and unflavored Floss
Flavored and unflavored floss are two variations of dental floss that cater to different preferences. Flavored floss is infused with various tastes, such as mint, cinnamon, or fruit flavors, to enhance the flossing experience and leave a pleasant taste. The added flavoring can make flossing more enjoyable and help freshen your breath. On the other hand, unflavored floss has no added taste or scent and offers a purely functional flossing experience.

Tips To Prevent Bad Breath While Flossing

Some people experience bad breath after flossing, which can be embarrassing and uncomfortable; here are some tips:
  •  Floss regularly: Developing a habit of flossing, preferably before brushing, is crucial for achieving optimal dental hygiene and preventing oral health issues in the long run.
  • Use the right technique: Flossing should be done gently, using a back-and-forth motion to remove food particles and plaque. Avoid snapping the floss, which can damage the gums and cause bleeding. It's also essential to use a clean section of floss for each tooth to prevent bacteria from spreading.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash: An antimicrobial mouthwash can kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.
  •  Clean your tongue: The tongue harbors bacteria that can cause bad breath.
  • Drink water: After flossing, drink a glass to help flush away any remaining bacteria and freshen your breath.
  • Visit your dentist regularly: Regular visits to your dentist in Calgary, SW, can help to identify and treat any oral health issues that can cause bad breath.


It's important to understand that flossing is essential to oral hygiene, but it can also cause bad breath if not done properly. Bacteria thrive in the spaces between teeth, and flossing helps to remove them, but if the bacteria are left there, they continue to grow and produce an unpleasant odor. So, while flossing is an important part of any dental routine, it's not a cure-all for bad breath. Visit Image Dental If you're experiencing persistent halitosis despite proper oral care.
Click to listen highlighted text!