Do you brush or floss first? There is a lot of debate behind the sequence of brushing and flossing. While some people argue that they like to floss first to loosen food and debris from between the teeth, which can then be brushed away after. 

Others prefer to brush first to remove any excess plaque before flossing to allow the fluoride from the toothpaste to reach areas that could be blocked by the food. What do dentists say?

Here is what the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the American Dental Association (ADA) has to say about it.

Brush or Floss First According to ADA 

  • The American Dental Association says that either way is acceptable. What more important is that you get the job done as thoroughly as possible and as regular as possible. It labels flossing as an important oral hygiene practice that must be done at least once a day, especially at the end of the day.

Brush or Floss First According to AAP 

The report titled ‘Effect of Toothbrushing and Flossing Sequence on Interdental Plaque Reduction and Fluoride Retention: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial’ assessed about 25 people who were asked to brush first and then use floss to clean the spaces between the teeth.

  • In the second phase of the study, the very same group of 25 people were asked to floss first and then brush their teeth. The conclusion of the study was that the amount of plaque left between the teeth was significantly reduced when the participants went with the floss first and then brush your teeth way.

According to the researchers, this happened because floss helps in loosening the bacteria and debris from between the teeth which are then removed with the toothbrush and later by rinsing one’s mouth, ensuring that the mouth is thoroughly cleaned. 

  • Plaque bacteria are the primary cause of the development of various periodontal diseases which can lead to irritation, swelling, gum recession and finally tooth loss. 

Dentists Have Thier Say

  • Patients who come for a routine dental checkup at Icon Dental Everett and Seattle office often ask whether they should brush or floss their teeth first. Although the study above has enough evidence to prove that flossing first is better, we always recommend that a patient should focus on brushing and flossing every day instead of worrying about the sequence.

Another important thing is to find the right toothpaste, floss, and other tools necessary to get the best oral hygiene possible. Part of perfect oral hygiene is visiting the dentist at least two times a year with a gap of 6 months each.

  • Although maintaining good oral health keeps you safe from most gum diseases, and common problems like bad breath, tooth decay, plaque and others, some of the more serious mouth conditions can be caused by a variety of other things such as your diet and diseases like type 2 diabetes.

So it is very important to regularly visit your dentist for clean-ups and consultation. It only takes a few minutes to get a thorough examination of your mouth. By visiting the dentist regularly, you ensure no underlying mouth problems go undetected. This saves you a lot of time, effort, and money in the long run as well as the pain of going through a complex procedure in the dentist’s office. 

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