smells like poop when i floss between two teeth

There are some things that people should have no business doing, yet we do it anyways. One of these forbidden things that you may have done is taking a whiff of the dental floss after you just used it. If you think that smells bad, understand that that is what the inside of your mouth smells like.

Most likely your tongue smells the same, and if you are brave enough to use a tongue scraper and smell it afterwards then you can confirm that it’s true (don’t ask how we know). You might be wondering if it is normal if the floss smells when used between two teeth. Or if it’s unusual that there is an odor when flossing one tooth in particular.

There are many reasons why your teeth and mouth might produce a bad odor. In some cases it is harmless, and in other cases there could be a medical emergency. In this article we will go over the common causes of why your floss might smell extremely foul after using it.

Why Does it Smell Like Poop When I Floss?

First of all, if your mouth smells like there is food rotting in it… there probably is. Secondly, approximately 25% of the general population has bad breath, mostly stemming from oral hygiene problems.

Chances are, you are one of the 25% of people affected by bad breath, and you will have to make tweaks to your current lifestyle to get rid of it. Here are the most likely causes of a bad floss smell:


Cigarettes contain tobacco and nicotine which is highly addictive as well as carcinogenic. The smoke contains particles that produce a heavy odor that can linger for a long time. Furthermore, smoking can cause gum disease which can result in a foul smell when flossing.

Dry Mouth

Saliva plays an important role in the maintenance of your teeth and gums, because it naturally cleans the mouth. If something causes your mouth to be unusually dry, then many bacteria that normally would be washed off by saliva will feed on plaque and produce odors.


Many foods have a strong flavor that will linger in the mouth long after you’ve finished eating. Not only that, but bits of food can get stuck between teeth or in cavities. If they are not quickly disposed of, then they will begin to rot in your mouth and cause a foul smell.


Alcohol is a drying agent which causes dry mouth. Mentioned above, dry mouth can lead to bad breath. Ironically, this is also why alcohol-based mouthwash will actually worsen your breath, so stay away from that as well.

Gum Disease

If plaque is allowed to accumulate and turn to tartar, it can result in gingivitis or even periodontitis. These are serious gum diseases that will cause your gums to recede and create pockets for additional bacteria to enter. Food can also get stuck there and rot. All of these factors will cause your gums to be infected and produce a foul odor.

Poor Oral Hygiene

If you do not consistently floss or brush your teeth then there is a high chance that the floss will smell bad when you finally do. The floss is simply removing the bacteria and smelly discharge that has accumulated since the last time you flossed.

Why Does My Floss Smell Bad Even with Good Oral Hygiene?

If your floss still smells bad despite regular brushing and flossing, as well as avoiding alcohol, smoking, and dry mouth, then this might be a cause for concern. Perhaps you are not as thorough with flossing as you thought, and there are still lots of food debris and plaque that you missed causing the bad smell.

With that said, even the most careful and vigilant person will miss areas in their mouth where plaque and bacteria accumulates. That is because bacteria can linger beneath the gum lines, where only special dental instruments can safely reach and clean.

That is why it is important to visit the dentist and get an oral cleaning from a professional. If you notice that the source of the bad smell is only coming from one tooth, then you may be suffering from tooth decay or periodontitis and you need to see a dentist immediately.