Can I Fix an Ingrown Toenail At Home Using Dental Floss?

by Judy Baldinger

You may wonder if this hack is really works. Sounds great, uncomplicated and may solve a common problem. This popular hack on the internet recommends using dental floss to fix an ingrown toenail. This does sound logical, slide dental floss under your nail to separate nail and skin. Does this work? What does a board certified podiatrist recommend?

What is an ingrown toenail?

When the nail grows into the surrounding skin, usually the sides of the nail. Often the, the skin around the nail breaks, bacteria enter the break and causes an infection. Typical symptoms are irritation, redness, swelling and pain with each step you take.

What causes an ingrown nail?

According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons the most common causes of ingrown nails are:

  • Trauma
  • Heredity
  • Improper Trimming of Nails
  • Improperly Sized Footwear
  • Nail Conditions

What does dental floss do?

Typically dental floss is used to separate the nail from the skin. You might think that this solves the problem as the nail is no longer ‘ingrown.’ Our resident podiatrist agrees with the recommendation of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons: You can actually make things worse and cause an infection, by either breaking the skin or leaving a piece of cotton in the area. Do not attempt any type of ‘bathroom’ procedure on this condition.

What can I do if my nail has grown into the skin?

Soak in warm water and gently rub the area. If irritation or pain continue see a podiatrist to treat the condition. Don’t wait for the problem to resolve on it’s own, early treatment is best.

What can I do to prevent ingrown nails?

  • Cut nails straight across, and never cut the corners. Let the nail grow slightly beyond the folds.
  • Wear proper fitting shoes and socks. If they are tight or pinch don’t wear them.