Brushing vs Flossing: Which Comes First

Both brushing and flossing are essential parts of a good at-home dental care routine—but which should you do first? Today, our Ottawa dentists explain. 

Many patients wonder whether it is better to floss or brush first when completing their at-home dental care routine. In this post, our Ottawa 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

Brushing cleans our teeth and clears out plaque and bacteria that can have a negative effect on our oral health. We recommend our patients brush their teeth at least twice a day. When done 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. If you forget to regularly gloss it might be a good idea to leave your floss somewhere clearly visible, such as next to your toothbrush.

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.

Are you due for a professional dental cleaning? Contact our Ottawa dentists today to book an appointment. 

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Looking for a dentist in Ottawa? We're happily accepting new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started today. 

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