Floss First or Brush First?

Which is better - Floss or Brush First?

Brushing and flossing are two of the most important factors to a good oral hygiene routine. They can greatly improve your dental health while minimizing bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. However, most people don’t care about the proper order for flossing and brushing their teeth. While it’s good to do both regularly, flossing first is actually recommended and is better for your teeth. In this article, we will discuss why flossing first is so important to your oral health and provide several tips on how to get the most out of these essential oral care activities.

Keeping teeth healthy

The importance of Brushing & Flossing

Brushing is an excellent way to keep your teeth clean, but it isn’t enough to maintain good healthy gums, remove dental plaque, prevent tooth decay and cavities. It also requires flossing, mouthwash, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist to have good dental hygiene. Brushing removes food, tooth-decay, and plaque, but it can’t reach between teeth. When the toothbrush is unable to reach hard to get areas of your mouth, it gives the bacteria a chance to accumulate and cause cavities. These cavities are known as interproximal caries. This happens when the tooth enamel is worn away, and the bacteria sticks to the tooth and causes tooth decay.

To prevent this, flossing helps keep your mouth clean by removing food and plaque between the teeth. That’s why flossing is essential to good dental hygiene.

Why flossing first is better

A lot of people brush their teeth first, then floss. The problem with this sequence is that food and plaque left by flossing will remain in your mouth until the next time you brush your teeth. When you floss first and then brush, the brushing action removes the particles from your mouth. This results in less dental plaque that is normally leftover in your mouth until you brush again, and you’re less likely to develop gum disease. In addition, using fluoride toothpaste will allow the fluoride to work better when food debris, plaque, or other particles are removed from the teeth.

Flossing and brushing are equally important parts of a daily oral hygiene routine. So if you brush first, then floss, you’re still taking the right step towards a healthy mouth. However, if you want the most plaque-busting power out of your at-home oral health routine, it’s best to floss first and then brush.

Prevents Gum Disease and tooth decay

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection in your mouth that can cause damage to soft tissue and bones that support your teeth. Poor dental hygiene—which includes skipping regular cleanings, not brushing and flossing, and more—can increase your chances of getting gum disease. Signs you may have gum disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Loose teeth

Gets rid of plaque

Your gums are more susceptible to disease when plaque remains on your teeth. To prevent the build-up of plaque, daily flossing and brushing will lower your chances of getting gum disease. Plaque hardens on the teeth within 24 to 36 hours if you do not brush your teeth after flossing. After brushing, make sure you spit any remaining toothpaste out of your mouth but don’t rinse it with water or mouthwash. Not rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash has a couple of benefits.

Why you should not rinse your mouth after flossing and brushing

Rinsing your mouth after brushing washes away fluoride, a mineral that helps strengthen teeth and prevents tooth decay. Avoid rinsing your mouth immediately to keep the added benefit of fluoride on your teeth as long as possible. In the event if you have too much toothpaste in your mouth, swish a teaspoon of water in your mouth and then spit it out.

If you enjoy the fresh feeling of mouthwash and want to reduce your chances of cavities, wait a couple of hours after brushing your teeth before rinsing with mouthwash. If you use a fluoride mouthwash, wait at least 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything else.

Which type of floss to use

Here are some quick tips on choosing the best floss to keep your teeth clean.

  • When choosing floss, be sure you choose a product made of non-toxic materials. You can use regular floss, knotted floss, or interdental brushes to remove food residue between your teeth.
  • Floss sticks are especially helpful for people who have a small mouth opening or have trouble using regular floss during their regular dental care routine.
  • Using knotted floss is an effective method to help clean the biofilm (plaque) on your teeth, prevent bleeding gums, and remove harmful bacteria.
  • Interproximal brushes, or interdental brushes, have short bristles and a small handle. They are perfect for getting food particles and plaque out between teeth that typically aren’t cleaned well with string floss. These brushes are perfect and highly recommended for people who wear braces and cannot use traditional dental floss.
  • An alternative to regular floss is using a water irrigator. A Waterpik, or water irrigator, is a handheld device that sprays water between the teeth to remove plaque and food particles.

How to Floss the right way?

To ensure that you’re getting rid of food debris and bacteria, floss at least once every day. When you floss, pull the floss gently down towards your gum line and pulling it up and down along the sides of both teeth. Continue flossing the next tooth using the same technique until you’ve finished flossing.

dental floss

Tips for flossing and brushing with braces

Brushing and flossing with braces is trickier than brushing regular teeth, but it’s not too difficult. Braces create more places for food and plaque to hide, so you need to be diligent about your oral hygiene. If you take extra steps to keep your teeth and gums clean, you’ll not only have a straight smile after treatment—you’ll also enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums! Here are some tips on how to floss and brush your with braces.

Brushing with braces – It is important to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste using a soft-bristled brush. You can use a powered electric toothbrush to increase brushing effectiveness for even better results. Wet your toothbrush and lightly brush the outside and inside surfaces of your teeth, using small, gentle, circular motions. Hold the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Brush all chewing surfaces and the inside surface of your front teeth. Don’t forget to clean the areas around your braces or other appliances.

Flossing with braces – To properly floss your braces, use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss to thread the floss behind each wire. First, get 12 to 18 inches of floss, loop the floss around your pointer fingers of both hands. Using a gentle back-and-forth motion, slide the floss between each set of teeth and gently slide the floss beneath the gum line to remove plaque and food particles from your teeth. Repeat this process until all of your teeth are clean and food-free. If your floss isn’t getting rid of all the food between your teeth and around your braces, please ask us about a water irrigator or water flosser.

We can help with your oral care in Fairview, TX

Young woman smile

Whenever you skip your oral hygiene routine, you risk requiring professional dental care to address long-term complications. If you’re having difficulty properly cleaning your teeth in the Fairview and Allen, TX area, visit us at Sloan Creek Dental for an appointment.

At Sloan Creek Dental, we know that a healthy smile is important to the quality of your life. That’s why we provide top-quality dental services and beautiful smiles at an affordable price. If you have any questions about flossing or other treatment plans, call us at 972-468-1440 today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Feng.

Our dental office is located in Fairview, Texas, and our patients visit us from across the surrounding areas, including Allen, Plano, McKinney, and Lucas.