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Brushing vs Flossing: Which Comes First

Many people understand on a basic level that brushing and flossing are recommended by dentists as part of a good oral hygiene routine. However, some patients are unclear on details such as what order these should be done in or if one is more important than the other. Here, our Winnipeg dentists discuss brushing and flossing.

Before starting your daily oral healthcare routine, you might have asked, "Should I be brushing my teeth first, or should I floss first?" Today, our Winnipeg dentists will try to solve this quandary for you. The first thing we'll need to do is explain the importance of brushing and flossing and what each practice does for us. 

Reasons to Brush

Most people need no introduction to why they should brush their teeth - it's one of the first lessons in cleanliness that many children learn. We recommend our patients brush their teeth at least twice a day to clean plaque and bacteria from their mouth that can have a negative effect on their oral health. When done properly, brushing excels at cleaning the surfaces of teeth in addition to cleaning our gums. 

Brushing twice a day helps keep teeth and gums clean, limits buildup of harmful bacteria and, ideally, prevents gum disease and tooth decay. Maintaining your at-home oral hygiene 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.

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

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