How To's

Why Does My Floss Keep Shredding?

Ah, the joy of dental flossing! Nothing beats that satisfying feeling of a clean and fresh smile, right? Well, except when your dental floss decides to play a little game of "Let's Shred!" 

The next pertinent question often is, “which is the best floss for tight teeth?”  But tight teeth isn’t the only explanation for floss shredding. In fact, there are plenty of factors that lead to floss shredding between your teeth. 

In this blog post, we'll dive into the mystery behind shredded dental floss and equip you with some nifty tips to bid those frustrating shreds farewell.

What is shredding?

Shredding is when your dental floss snaps in half or frays so badly that the floss is about to break. It happens when your floss meets too much pressure.  An equally annoying consequence of shredding is when bits of floss get lodged between your teeth. Removing stray pieces of floss from between your teeth can be a major pain. 

What causes shredding?

Here are some known causes of shredding.

Dental crowns and fillings

After getting some work done on your teeth, it’s common for the shape or position of your teeth to change. This can cause tightness, which then causes shredding.

Crowns as a result of root canals are meant to fully mimic the shape of the dead tooth. But sometimes micro imperfections can cause tightness between the teeth which can cause shredding.

Cavity fillings can be sharp and jagged, and can physically cut the floss. Shredding usually happens between the teeth where the cavity fillings are located — fillings on the side of the tooth that meets another tooth are particularly susceptible.

Tartar buildup

Believe it or not, failing to floss regularly is a huge cause of shredding! Tartar buildup between the teeth can be very sharp, jagged, and irregularly shaped.

Hint..the more you floss, the less shredding you’ll experience!

Floss “snapping”

Forcing the floss between your teeth quickly and forcefully is called “snapping.” Snapping occurs because the floss meets a lot of pressure very quickly and breaks in half.

Naturally tight teeth

Sometimes, even when you’re on top of your floss game and you’re doing everything right, your floss still shreds. In this case, you might just have naturally tight teeth. But don’t worry – there’s a remedy for you (keep reading!).

Ways to prevent shredding

Here are some of our top tips for preventing shredding!

Ease the floss between the teeth

Let's talk technique — we're all about smooth and gentle here. Avoid “snapping” the floss between your teeth.  Instead, gently guide the floss up and down, following their natural curves. By embracing the smooth back-and-forth rhythm, you'll gracefully reduce the odds of shredded floss drama.  Not only will this reduce shredding and fraying but it will also clean your teeth much better! Win-win!

If you have naturally tight teeth, this is the best solution for you. 

Don't pull the floss back through the contact point

If you find the problem only occurs when you try to remove the floss from between certain  teeth you may want to try this technique.  After cleaning the area, instead of pulling the floss back up through the tight contact let go of one end and pull it out to the side.  It will usually pull through easily and avoid any shredding.

Floss regularly and correctly

To keep plaque from turning into tartar between your teeth, floss regularly. Try to floss at least once a day, EVERYDAY.

If you want to review your flossing method, read our previous blog post about how to floss properly!

Visit your dentist 

To prevent jagged tartar formations between your teeth, visit your dentist for cleanings every year. Tartar is hardened plaque that was missed during your brushing and flossing routine.  While it’s easy to remove plaque at home, tartar requires a dentist to remove.  

If the shredding is caused by rough, loose or jagged fillings or dental work you can always go back to your dentist to have them make some slight alterations.

Your trusty dentist or dental hygienist can be your flossing superheroes. They'll evaluate your technique, suggest specific products, and uncover any underlying dental issues that might be causing the shredding fiasco. They're the experts, after all!

Are some flosses more prone to shredding than others?

Yes, some flosses are just more susceptible to shredding than others. A floss that is too thin and delicate to hold up to pressure will be one of the first to shred even if you’ve mastered the no-snap technique.

Unwaxed floss is an easy shredder since it’s sometimes hard to get into tight contacts. This is when people tend to “snap” it between teeth causing the shredding or breaking.

Natural fibers like cotton, bamboo and corn have short fibers without enough tensile strength for dental floss and tend to shred easily.  

Silk has longer fiber but is delicate and doesn’t hold up as well — shredding is a common complaint with this type of floss.

Is there a shred-free floss?

Some popular no-shred options are flosses with Teflon that “glide” between your teeth.  These seem like a good idea until you realize that the very thing that’s making it “glide” between your teeth also makes it “glide” right past the plaque and debris it’s supposed to picking up.  WTH?!?!?  And to make matters worse, they contain PFAS, a potentially harmful “forever chemical”.  (read more here)

So what then?

Our Smart Floss has a unique [patented] design that makes it nearly shred-proof and the best floss for tight teeth. It is a multifilament, expanding floss with polyester fibers that are incredibly durable.  The strength of the fine fibers holds up very well in tight interdental spaces, decreasing your chances of shredding.

Not only does it rank high in the no-shred category, it also removes up to 55% more plaque than other floss brands! Because of its unique abilities to expand, it reaches a larger surface area — dislodging and grabbing more plaque than many other floss types. 

And unlike many other dental flosses, Smart Floss (and our vegan version, Activated Charcoal Floss) contain no sketchy additives, like PFAS and petroleum wax. It even features a delicious natural cardamom flavor to amp up your flossing routine!  

The Takeaway

Flossing with patience and care is one of the best remedies for shredding and with the right floss and these tips and tricks, you'll conquer the shredding challenge and reclaim the joy of flossing.

When you use Smart Floss, you’ll see why dentists recommend it to their patients. No other floss is made with the same level of care, attention to detail, and passion, which is why Smart Floss has proven to be so popular and effective.  Many of our customers report no longer experiencing shredding after using this floss. 

So say goodbye to flimsy, inferior floss and keep that smile shining, shred-free, and ready to take on the world!  For a superior (and uniquely delicious) flossing experience, shop our Smart Floss now!



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