floss or brush first

Should I Floss First or Brush First?

Does it matter if you floss first or brush first, or is overall oral health not impacted by the order of these important tasks? Keep reading to learn more about the oral health “order of operations,” and the pros of flossing and brushing.

Why Are Flossing and Brushing so Important?

Taking good care of your dental hygiene involves regularly flossing and brushing your teeth. Dentists recommend flossing at least once per day and brushing at least twice a day for two minutes. For extra-clean teeth, brush after you eat or drink something other than water. By regularly brushing and flossing, you greatly reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, which limits plaque build-up that leads to cavities. Less cavities means a healthier mouth, better breath, and less chance of developing gum disease. If you wear braces, flossing and brushing are even more important, as bacteria can get lodged in between the metal brackets and wires. This can lead to cavities and gum disease that might not be noticed until after the braces are removed. This in turn could cause long-term damage that is only reversible by multiple visits to a dentist, which can be costly, time-consuming, and painful.

So Should I Floss First Or Brush First? 

According to a study published in 2018 in the The Journal of Periodontology, flossing first actually reduces the total amount of plaque and increases the amount of fluoride in between your teeth. This leads to better overall oral health, as your teeth will be more cavity-free. Flossing first also loosens the plaque in between your teeth, making it easier for your brush to get rid of it. Practically, flossing first increases the likelihood that you will remember to floss. By leaving it until after brushing, you might get distracted and forget. People also find flossing to be a less enjoyable activity than brushing, which is one reason only 16% of respondents to an ADA survey about brushing and flossing said the floss daily. 

The Bottom Line

While flossing before brushing leads to healthier teeth, the main takeaway from dentists and orthodontists is that whether you floss first or brush first, flossing and brushing in any order leads to better oral health than not doing it at all. While you may consider flossing a chore, the payoff from it is immense and can prevent major oral hygiene issues. It is worth taking the extra 30 seconds or so needed to properly floss your teeth to gain a lifetime of better oral health.  

Along with the importance of flossing and brushing comes the benefit of proper orthodontic care. If you feel ready to start your journey to a straighter, healthier smile, contact Milnor Orthodontics for your free consultation! They can help you determine the best path forward for better oral hygiene in the new year.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 484-3214 or visit milnororthodontics.com to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.