Why does flossing hurt? The mystery unraveled

Why does Flossing Hurt - The Mystery Unraveled

Why does flossing hurt? It’s such a common question that patients ask their dentist all the time.

Which is usually followed by “do I really need to floss?” or “why s flossing so important, if it hurts?”

Let me start by explaining what flossing is actually doing.

Flossing also know as interdental cleaning assists in the removal of debris, deposits and plaque build up between your teeth.

This is an integral part of an individuals’ daily health care routine. The flossing thread gets in all the hardest places to reach. This includes spaces between the teeth and underneath the gum line.

Sometimes your toothbrush can’t get the right access or angle so you need to floss. However, sometimes flossing may be a painful experience. Let me explain why.

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​Why does flossing make my teeth hurt?

​If flossing is uncomfortable or painful, many people choose to forgo this dental chore. There really are many reasons behind answering the torment of ''why does it hurt after flossing?"

Flossing isn’t the most fun or exciting oral care practice. It may upset sensitive gums or even cause toothaches. But flossing should not be the cause of excruciating agony. A common complaint brought to dentists is bleeding and sore gums from flossing.

Outlined below are the many reasons why you may suffer from this ailment:

Your flossing technique

  • To begin with, when you floss, you are introducing a foreign object into a pretty vulnerable location. By continuously squeezing it back and forth, you trigger a lot of friction. This movement hurts and irritates the targeted gum.
  • ​Flossing is classified as an abrasive activity, especially with a string type of floss. This is because it involves aggressive cutting and scraping in an attempt to eliminate bacterial growth. The enamel and pulp of the tooth are also relieved of minor infections because of this course practice. 
  • An improper flossing technique is mostly the culprit. Children, patients who are novice flossers or simply a careless and rushed flosser cause the most damage. They spend too much time prodding around and poking with the dental floss.
  • When excessive downward pressure is used to force the string between closely placed teeth it’ll continuously aggravate the subtle wound. This damage can continue to buildup and jolt waves of pain every time you floss or even brush your teeth.
  • Gums are actually the most sensitive tissue in the mouth. Due to their hypersensitivity, they are easily scarred and cut by external objects like dental floss.

​Flossing with gum disease

  • Gum disease is another contributor that answers the why does flossing hurt question from many people. The first phase of onset gingivitis is what you need to look out for.
  • Gum tissues become infected when bacteria worm their way underneath the gum line and attack them. Following this bacterial infection, you will observe elevated levels of sensitivity and inflammation. This occurrence makes the tissue become susceptible to bleeding as plaque solidifies on top of the calculus.
  • ​Gum disease left untreated, can develop into periodontal disease. Due to new cleaning and removal of plaque from areas that haven’t been exposed previously they are shocked and raw. 
  • Sensitivity isn’t only limited to gums. Although seemingly durable, teeth are also prone to being very delicate. This is brought on by tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Vitamin deficiencies may also be a factor that lead to pain when flossing.

​Reduce the pain that comes with flossing

  • Incorporate a regular interproximal oral cleansing technique when used in conjunction with conventional manually operated toothbrushes. 

  • Dental hygienists and dentists can scale teeth to discard hardened sticky layers of filthy substances.
  • Even though it may cause you some discomfort, flossing can be the most effective and cheap treatment for the earlier stages of gum disease.
  • Identify the underlying cause of the sensitivity if it is not related to the flossing but is an internal issue.
  • Deep cleaning is a must do plan of action. It removes plaque buildup swiftly, getting you back to a healthy and pain-free life.
  • An alternative to traditional floss includes a water pik amongst other options. These utilize streams of injury-free water to flush out unwanted debris. There are some brands of floss that are manufactured with soft outer-coating. The result is a less harsh product.
  • Always be gentle and conscious of how you floss. Take your time and allow the teeth and gums to acclimate to the flossing mechanism. 
  • Avoid using the same section of floss between each tooth. Not doing this means you are just spreading around the bacteria within your mouth.
  • Do not snap the floss down with force between the teeth. Try working it back and forth with a firm yet light and controlled, downward force.
  • The American Dental Association recommends adults and children to floss at least once every day.

The best way to floss

  • Cut off 12-16 inches of dental floss.
  • Wrap it carefully around your middle fingers, being careful to not cut yourself. Leave approximately 2 inches of floss hanging loose between your hands.
  • Gently insert the string between teeth following a sawing motion.
  • Then curve the floss into a shape similar to the letter C enveloping and swiping underneath the gum.
  • Cautiously move the floss up and down.
  • Don’t stop if it bleeds, engorged gums need to be drained.
  • Repeat for every tooth.

Check your gums before you floss

Before you begin a flossing routine (especially if you are new to flossing), have a good look at your gums first. Are they red, swollen or inflammed in any area? If so, you should consult your dentist before doing anything further.

Another preemptive system involves determining sensitivity beforehand with hot and cold foods to see if there’s any reaction. If you do have sensitivity, try applying a desensitizing toothpaste or fluoride gel to your brushing.

The great benefits of flossing

  • It gradually but surely eliminates flossing pain in the long-term.
  • Extracts plaque from beneath the gum line.
  • Assists in fresh breath maintenance.
  • Encourages healthy gum tissue formation and preservation.
  • Prevents the build-up of tartar.
  • Reduces the probability of gum diseases.

Why does flossing hurt my gums, answered

So that should now have answered the original question ''Why does flossing hurt?'' There can be many reasons really but all of them can be explained, understood and usually resolved. Good technique mixed with a healthy oral regime will win always.

So don't abandon the practice of flossing just because it may start out a little uncomfortable.

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