Floss Before or After Brushing?

Dr.Alan Wishneff Boca Raton Florida Dentist Dr. Alan Wishneff D.D.S.
Restorative Dentistry / Oral Health
February 18, 2016

One of the easiest ways to add years to your life is to take good care of your teeth. Good oral health can lower Floss1the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Research has shown that people who brush their teeth less than once a day were up to 65% more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed twice daily.

Other studies have shown that nearly 65 million Americans have gum disease. That turns out to be about one out of every two adults age 30 or older. This stat is dangerous due to the fact that periodontal disease is a strong and independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes. Brushing and flossing the teeth daily can help keep the mouth clean and will lessen the chance of diseases from taking over.

The Floss Debate

Lately there has been talk about the correct way to brush and floss the teeth. Whether to floss before or after brushing your teeth is also a question being asked. Many people have their own idea of which way is best. Some dentists advise to floss before you brush your teeth. This will help to break up plaque that was around the teeth and allow it to be brushed away with any other bacteria or debris. Other dentists suggest that you should floss after brushing the teeth. This allows you to see what the toothbrush has missed. When flossing first, the debris that is loosened might be brushed back into the spaces between the teeth. While some dentists say it doesn’t matter which is done first as long as they are both done. Brushing and flossing will clean different areas of the mouth and this is why it is important to do both. As long as you are brushing at least twice a day and flossing once, then you are doing a good job.

Flossing is best done at night. At night you can loosen all the plaque that has collected on the teeth throughout the day. Brushing away all the debris and bacteria before bedtime is a good idea. When you are sleeping, you are not producing enough saliva to clean off plaque from the teeth. Another way to make sure your teeth stay clean is to make sure you are flossing properly. Make a c-shape with the floss and wrap it around the tooth to clean the entire surface. Don’t just go up and down with the floss. This won’t clean the surface properly.

Bottom Line

The American Dental Association says that brushing or flossing first are both fine. The key is to do a thorough job of both. They do add that flossing first will allow fluoride from the toothpaste to reach between the teeth when you brush. This will help reduce cavities.

All dentists agree that flossing once a day is crucial in helping to avoid the buildup of bacteria between the teeth that later hardens into plaque. The plaque then turns into tartar which is a hard mineral deposit that can cause gums to become swollen or inflamed. This leads to the early stages of gum disease or gingivitis.

Keep flossing and brushing your teeth daily. Whichever one you want to do first, just make sure you do them properly.

For more information about this topic or any other dental topic, contact Dr. Wishneff at [email protected]  or call (561) 488-3111Dr. Alan Wishneff is a Boca Raton Dentist dedicated to bringing patients state-of-the-art dental care. As a cosmetic, family and restorative dentist, he helps patients enjoy a natural and healthy smile. He is trained in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain veneers; advanced cosmetic bonding techniques; oral surgery; medical emergency procedures; advanced crown and bridge; advanced TMJ; implant dentistry; endodontics-root canals: utilization of most advanced dental materials. Dr, Wishneff and staff are dedicated to providing great smiles in Boca Raton for more than 30 years. After more than two decades of practicing dentistry in Boca Raton, Dr. Wishneff is more committed than ever to this community.

Image: By oralcare (free) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons