Many people are aware that brushing and flossing are recommended by dentists as essential elements of a good oral hygiene routine. However, some patients are unclear on the finer details, such as which order they should be done in, or if one is more important than the other. Here, our Ottawa dentists discuss brushing and flossing in detail.
Before starting your daily oral healthcare routine, you might be wondering, "Should I be brushing my teeth first, or should I floss first?" Today, our dentists in Ottawa aim to solve this inquiry. The first thing we need to do is discuss the importance of brushing and flossing and what each practice can do for us.
Reasons to Brush
Most of us need no reminder of why we should brush our teeth. It's one of the first lessons in cleanliness that many children learn. We recommend our patients brush their teeth at least twice each day. By brushing we not only clean our teeth but also clear out bacteria and plaque that can negatively impact our oral health. When completed properly, brushing excels at cleaning the surfaces of teeth as well as at 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's aid in keeping our mouths clean 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 accordance with 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.