Many people know on a basic level that brushing and flossing are recommended by dentists as part of a good oral hygiene routine. Some patients however are unclear on the finer details, like what order they should be done in or if one is more important than the other. Today, our Dartmouth dentists talk about brushing and flossing in detail.
A question you might have had before starting your daily oral health care routine is "should I be brushing my teeth first, or should I floss first". In this post, our Dartmouth dentists aim to solve this very quandary. The first thing we need to do then is talk about the importance of brushing and flossing and what each practice does for us.
Reasons to Brush
The reasons to brush one's teeth need no introduction, it is one of the first lessons in cleanliness that many children learn. We recommend our patients brush their teeth at least twice a day. Brushing cleans our teeth and clears out plaque and bacteria that can hurt our oral health. When done properly, brushing excels at cleaning the surfaces of teeth as well as cleaning our gums.
Brushing twice a day helps by keeping teeth and gums clean, limiting the buildup of harmful bacteria and; ideally, preventing gum disease and tooth decay. This routine complements your regular visits to the dentist for dental cleanings and exams.
Reasons to Floss
Flossing is important because it helps keep the areas of our mouth clean that brushing does not always reach. Flossing ideally keeps the spaces between our teeth, as well as just below the gum line, free of unwanted bacteria and buildup. In turn, flossing aids in keeping our mouths clean and can lead to fewer health complications and an overall better experience when it comes to the maintenance of good oral health.
We recommend flossing at least once a day. Oral hygiene care is largely about routine and habit, so we also recommend leaving your floss somewhere clearly visible, forming an imperishable bond in your mind between the act of brushing and the act of flossing. Where one comes to mind, so should the other, to ensure the entirety of your teeth receive the care they require.
Should you brush or floss first?
We recommend flossing before brushing your teeth. What is most important is that you always do both in your dental care routine.
We recommend flossing first due in large part to the possibility of flossing to loosen bacteria and food debris both on and between our teeth. This can make brushing more successful at removing food particles.
Another benefit applies if you use toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride is a compound of fluorine with another element or group, and it helps keep teeth clean. If you floss after brushing, it is more likely to remove the fluoride in your toothpaste, which might make it less effective.
We should always try and do the best we can when it comes to maintaining an excellent standard of oral health care, and sometimes small changes can have an outsized impact on our dental care routines. Choosing to brush after flossing could be one of those small changes. If you have to this point flossed after brushing, we suggest trying the inverse, and flossing before brushing.