How to avoid flossing pain

We cannot stress how important flossing is for your oral health. Gum disease is no joke, and we’d rather help you prevent it than have to treat it. 

Unfortunately, flossing puts many people off. They don’t like the process, find it difficult, and may even find that their gums bleed when they floss! 

The sad thing is, the more you don’t floss, the worse your flossing experience will be. At Peabody Dental Care, we’ll help guide you through why your teeth and gums might hurt from flossing, and how to avoid flossing pain if they do.

What causes flossing pain?

First, we’ll want to gauge what’s causing the pain. A few things we look out for include:

  • Flossing technique

You may be flossing incorrectly. Flossing can be tricky for some to get right. Many are simply too aggressive and floss too hard. Make sure to only use actual floss to clean your teeth. Knives, string, safety pins, none of these make suitable substitutes for floss! We’ll provide some tips on proper flossing technique below.

  • Frequency of flossing

As mentioned before, infrequent flossing can lead to pain, discomfort, or bleeding. To counteract this, just keep at it every night. Eventually, your gums should stop bleeding. If they don’t, it might be a sign of gum disease, so visit your dentist immediately if they still bleed after flossing every night.

  • Signs of tooth decay or gum disease

Toothaches are usually caused by decay or gum disease such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Cavities will usually hurt with heat or cold, so if the pain is also caused by a cold drink, tooth decay may be the culprit.

How to floss correctly

First, we recommend using standard floss with two hands. You can also use a floss pick, which is a small plastic pick, curved on end to hold a piece of dental floss. These can help with maneuvering the floss between your back teeth.

The main tip we have for you is to be gentle! Flossing too hard causes bleeding and damages gums, so take it easy and go slow, and you will have less pain. 

Finally, make sure you are flossing the sides of teeth, not the middle. After sliding the floss between two teeth, run it down the side of one tooth, then back up. Next, do the same for the other tooth. Avoiding hitting the gums themselves; the piece of floss should be cleaning your teeth, not slicing your gums.

Use a water flosser

If you are not able to use string floss or find it too irritating, a water flosser (also known as a water pick) can help. Water flossers work well for many reasons. They are ideal for those with dental implants, crowns, or braces. Just remember that water flossers should only be used in conjunction with traditional flossing – not as a substitute.

Most water flossing devices come with a variable pressure, meaning you can adjust the speed of the water. This allows you to finetune your water flosser to clean your teeth without destroying your gums. Of course, a weaker flow will mean less clean teeth. Ideally, you can eventually get up to a strong pressure. 

Come in for a dental cleaning!

Lastly, we recommend dental cleanings as a surefire way to strengthen your teeth and gums. We remove plaque and tartar buildup, and examine your teeth for any signs of decay or disease. Give us a call today at 831-457-0343 or send us a message to set up an appointment and get your oral health in great shape!

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From Dr. Peabody

I love being a dentist, and for 33 years I have tremendously enjoyed providing dental care for you as well as the relationships we’ve formed.  I have decided to retire from the private practice of dentistry so that I can spend more time with my family.

I have interviewed several quality dentists, and I am delighted that I found an outstanding dentist that I know will fit my current patients and the community of Santa Cruz.

With sincere confidence, I am happy to introduce Dr. Martha Catalina Payne. (Dr. Cat)

Please visit her website:
to learn more about her and schedule your next appointment with her.

I will work closely with Dr. Cat in this transition so she has a thorough understanding of each patient’s dental needs.

I am confident that you will enjoy Dr. Cat as much as I have enjoyed getting to know her. The team is also quite impressed with her, and you will continue to see them at your reserved dental care visits.

Dr. Guy Peabody DDS