Should you floss before or after brushing?

Should you floss before or after brushing?

Should You Floss Before or After Brushing?

You’ve probably been given advice about flossing and brushing as the key to keeping your teeth and gums healthy and clean. But, according to dentists, the order in which we do those two activities matters greatly to our dental health. Indeed, the appropriate order for the most efficient removal of plaque from teeth and gums is to floss first and brush second. This optimizes oral health by effectively removing plaque, and by increasing fluoride absorption from toothpaste by strengthening your tooth’s enamel.

Why Flossing Then Brushing Is the Best Combo

This simple one-two punch of a floss-then-brush dental routine puts you in a great position to achieve and maintain good oral health for a number of reasons. First, flossing before brushing allows you to get food particles and plaque out from between your teeth and around your gum line and onto your teeth, where you can brush them away easily. Plaque starts to harden after about 24-36 hours, so it needs to be routinely cleaned before it turns into tartar, which would require a dental professional’s tools and skills to remove. Second, because flossing before brushing helps remove plaque, your teeth are also able to absorb the fluoride in toothpaste better. Plaque can prevent your tooth enamel from properly absorbing fluoride, which is why it’s essential to remove it prior to brushing. Additionally, in order for this helpful fluoride to have enough time to do its job, it’s important to remember not to rinse your mouth with water after you brush. Rinsing after brushing can rinse away all the fluoride from your mouth, and can actually keep your toothpaste from preventing cavities, tooth decay, and other dental problems. 

Why Flossing Is Essential to Oral Health

We’ve touched on the fact that it’s essential to remove plaque daily before it can turn into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove. But what exactly is plaque? Plaque, simply, is a mixture of food particles, saliva, and bacteria that form in your mouth to create the sticky, white-ish substance on your teeth. Plaque can settle in between teeth and even into the gum line of your mouth. Flossing provides a unique benefit to your oral care that brushing simply cannot achieve because flossing digs in between your teeth and into your gum line to lift these plaque particles out, so they can be brushed away. Flossing does wonders for your oral health by preventing gingivitis, gum disease, bad breath, and it even can help maintain your teeth’s natural whiteness.

Best Tools and Tips for Great Teeth and Gums

Maintaining a proper flossing and brushing routine is crucial to maintaining great oral health. Doing these basic things, along with seeing a dentist for routine cleanings can do wonders for your teeth and gums. Here are a few additional tools and tips for maintaining great oral health.

When to See a Dentist

Most people see dentists twice a year for routine cleanings, but if you’re experiencing any issues like red or swollen gums, painful chewing, or sensitive teeth, it’s probably best to see a dentist to help you diagnose your issue. Keeping on top of your dental health is the best way to ensure your teeth have a long, healthy life.