Brushing and flossing are integral parts of a strong oral care routine. Both are recommended daily, but have you ever wondered if you should floss or brush first?
Both brushing and flossing help to maintain healthy gums and keep plaque at bay. Along with a healthy diet and regular dental visits, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice and flossing once each day. However, when choosing whether to floss or brush first, the decision is really up to you. Generally, most people opt to floss after brushing. But it may actually be more beneficial to flip the order.
No Wrong Answer
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology took a look at the best sequence for brushing and flossing, and the results suggest that flossing before brushing is ideal to combat plaque. In the study, participants who flossed first had a significant reduction in plaque. They also found that the amount of fluoride present between teeth was higher. This indicates that flossing clears the way for the fluoride in toothpaste to do a more thorough job.
Flossing after brushing has its benefits as well. After all, it's a sure way to catch any leftover particles between teeth that a toothbrush can't reach.
Ultimately, as long as you're following the ADA's recommendations for a healthy mouth, the order in which you brush and floss is simply personal preference. You may even choose to floss both before and after!
Regardless of whether you choose to floss first or brush first, here is what the ADA recommends for maintaining a strong oral health routine:
- Brush for at least two minutes twice per day with a back-and-forth motion on all tooth surfaces.
- Change your toothbrush approximately every three months (watch for flattened or frayed bristles).
- Clean between teeth once per day.
- Limit sugar intake and eat a balanced diet.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
Talk to your dentist about any other products or tools that might be right for you. Depending on your mouth type, they may recommend oral irrigators and dental tape as an alternative or in addition to regular dental floss. Other products such as mouthwash can enhance your healthy mouth routine by freshening your breath and protecting your gums.
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Why It's Good
Maintaining a strong, daily oral care routine that includes brushing and flossing will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy—no matter what order you choose.