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Brushing vs Flossing: Which Comes First

On a basic level, many people know that brushing and flossing your teeth are recommended by dentists as part of a good oral hygiene routine. Some patients, however, are unclear on the finer details such as what order they should be done in or if one is more important than the other. Here, our Ottawa dentists talk about brushing and flossing in detail.

A reasonable question to have before starting your daily oral health care routine is "should I be brushing my teeth first, or should I floss first". Here, our dentists aim to explain the answer to you. The first thing to discuss is about the importance of brushing and flossing teeth in general and what each practice does for your smile. 

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 have a negative effect on our oral health. 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 your teeth at least once each day. Oral hygiene care is primarily about routine and habit, so we also recommend that you leave your floss somewhere visible, so you can create a connection in your mind between brushing your teeth and flossing them.  

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 worth noting applies if you use toothpaste that contains 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.

For more advice on your daily oral hygiene routine, contact our Ottawa dentists for a consultation. 

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