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Brush Then Floss, Or Floss Then Brush?

Choosing Floss

Of all the questions you’ve asked about brushing your teeth, likely, which order to brush or floss in hasn’t been one of them. While the answer may seem obvious on the surface, there’s more to it than you may suspect. Most of us immediately default to brushing and then flossing. We’re going to consider the benefits and consequences of brushing first and then flossing, and then the opposite.

Brush Then Floss, Or Floss Then Brush?

Every day most of us wake up, brush our teeth, floss, and then use a bit of mouthwash to round out our oral hygiene routine. While this makes perfect sense and works perfectly well, there may be a better way. Brushing your teeth eliminates plaque and tartar from your dental surfaces, flossing clears out the debris between your teeth, and mouthwash ensures your mouth is fresh and clean. So which order should you clean your mouth in? Let’s consider.

  • Brushing, Flossing, and Mouthwash – This is the order most people do their oral hygiene routine in. The benefit here is that all three points are hit in a logical order. Each stage typically has a rinse between it to keep it going. 
  • Flossing, Brushing, and Mouthwash – This series has its own logic to it. Flossing first knocks the debris out from between your teeth, where it can be brushed away with the toothbrush. In the end, it’s all rinsed away with a rinse of mouthwash.
  • Mouthwash, Flossing, and Brushing – This order is an uncommon one, but maybe there’s something to it. The antibacterial nature of the mouthwash can help loosen the plaque on your teeth, while brushing clears it away. Finishing it up with flossing gets the debris out from between your teeth. One last rinse with water, and it’s all done.

Throughout all of these steps, it’s been implied that you’re rinsing between each step. However, there’s another approach you can take. Start by brushing, and then use floss before you rinse. While this may be a little messy, it allows the fluoride-rich toothpaste foam to get in between your teeth and strengthen the enamel there. You’re still getting the debris cleared out from between your teeth. Once it’s all done, you swish with mouthwash and call it a day! This may be the most effective options, and it has the benefit of saving water as well!

Talk To Your Dentist To Get Their Advice

The best way to build the most effective dental hygiene routine is to speak with your dentist about it. They’ll be able to give you their own opinion and back it with the knowledge and experience that comes with their profession. The most important thing, regardless of the order you perform your routine, is to be consistent with it. Every day that you brush, floss, and use mouthwash is a day that you keep tooth decay at bay. Make a call to schedule a consultation with your dentist today and start protecting your teeth!

Dr. Karmen Massih Inspired by orthodontics at the age of 10, Dr. Karmen Massih earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at UCLA's School of Dentistry. After earning her certificates in orthodontics at the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to her hometown of Glendale, CA, to begin Massih Orthodontics, a practice dedicated to transforming smiles for people of all ages.