Dental Tips Blog


Which Comes First: Brushing or Flossing?

In combination with regular dental cleanings and exams, daily flossing and brushing is the cornerstone of good preventative dental care.  There are numerous theories about whether flossing should come before brushing, or vice versa. One take is that by brushing first, you can remove a majority of the debris in the mouth, leaving only the small amounts between the teeth which need to be removed by flossing afterward. Hence, follow up with some floss to remove the smaller particles that are left after a good brushing.

Others say that flossing is better to do before you brush. A key argument on this is that fluoride from toothpaste may not be able to access areas between your teeth unless you remove the plaque from these areas first. Flossing before brushing could possibly allow for better fluoride contact in these key areas. However, flossing before brushing still means there is a large amount of plaque and food residue floating around the teeth, and may not allow for optimal cleaning with floss.

To ask whether or not you should brush or floss first, probably means that you’re actually doing both on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many people avoid flossing completely. The fact of the matter is, if you’re flossing, no matter what order it falls in with brushing, you’re doing yourself a favor. Flossing helps eliminate bacteria in areas that brushing will always be unable to reach. It also brings oxygen into areas that develop gum disease, and helps eliminate gum infection, prevent tartar buildup, and reduces the risk of decay. Wonderful tooth brushers can still develop gum disease and decay between their teeth, so as long as you’re flossing at least once per day, tightly around each tooth and extending down under the gumlines, you’re doing it right.

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