Rockwall Oral Surgery

Why Flossing Before Brushing Is Best

Many people have their own unique way of doing their dental treatment and taking care of their oral health each day. That might involve stepping before the mirror, brushing away the cobwebs of sleep from their eyes and grabbing for their toothbrush. Others might unravel minty dental floss, proceeding to rid the crevices of their teeth of plaque or bits of food if they neglected their oral upkeep the night before. 

However, some patients might be questioning which should come first: flossing or brushing. Which method is best for your oral health and why?

In one recent study, 25 dental students worked to determine which was more effective: brushing first or flossing first. After undergoing prophylaxis (treatments to prevent oral disease), the participants were told to cease oral care for 48 hours. Once that time was up, the study was conducted in two-week intervals. One week the participants focused on brushing followed by flossing. The next, it was flossing then brushing. Throughout the study the participants’ levels of plaque and fluoride were measured before and following each task. 

The study concluded that flossing before brushing was optimal for removing plaque and bacteria. It was also determined that flossing before brushing increases the chances of fluoride remaining as a protective barrier over your teeth, reducing the likelihood of developing gum disease. 

In other words, flossing helps loosen interdental plaque, and brushing sweeps it away. 

Dr. Kevin Pollock of Rockwall Oral Surgery supports the procedure of flossing before brushing.

“Brushing only cleans some of the surfaces of the teeth – it can’t get in between teeth to clean all the surfaces – so cleaning between them before we start brushing is so incredibly important,” he says. “It helps to prevent gum disease by removing buildup in all the areas that the regular toothbrush simply can’t reach.”

It cannot be stressed enough that flossing and brushing are vital to maintaining a healthy smile. By not doing both, you increase your chances of gum disease and other oral-related diseases. The toothbrush can only do so much to remove plaque, food and other bits stuck between the crevices of your teeth. 

Lastly, mouthwash should be saved for the end of your oral routine. Mouthwash will remove the last little bits your floss and toothbrush failed to remove.