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Which Comes First – Flossing or Brushing?

Flossing_Vs_Brushing-1Just like the chicken and egg, patients want to know which they should do first — brush, then floss or floss, then brush. The answer is: It doesn’t matter, according to the American Dental Association. What matters is that you do both and do both thoroughly..

However, when you floss first, you dislodge the debris between your teeth, the ADA said. At that time, the fluoride from toothpaste is more likely to get between your teeth when you brush afterward. This can help prevent cavities in between your teeth.

Even Dentists Debate the Order

The debate continues even among colleagues. For example, dentist Mary Hayes believes it makes more sense to floss after you’ve brushed so you get at the gunk in your mouth you might have missed. You don’t want to push that bacteria-laden material into your gums, she adds. You will benefit from advantages and disadvantages whichever order you choose to use.

All dentists agree that brushing and flossing frequently and well are the most important actions people can take to protect their oral health. A study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that  nearly 65 million Americans had gum disease in 2012. Brushing and flossing are essential steps for preventing this disease.

You must remember  to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day in whatever order you want. Flossing is essential and should not be skipped. It gets rid of the bacteria between your teeth and keeps it from hardening into plaque.  Since it takes 24 to 48 hours for this bacteria to build up, dislodging it once a day should keep your teeth and gums healthy.

What if I Don’t Like to Floss or Can’t Do It Well?

Don’t fear if you don’t like to floss. You have alternatives that remove that bacteria in their mouth. You can use special brushes, picks, sticks and water flossers.  These tools are all called “interdental cleaners”. If you are planning to use one, you need to  ask your dentist for advice and a demonstration on how to use the tools without damaging your gums.

It’s also important to follow the most effective methods of brushing and flossing. The toothbrush must be held at a 45-degree angle to your gums and then  you move the brush back and forth with gentle motions where each stroke spans an entire tooth.  You need to be sure to target all the surface areas of every tooth, including the outside surface, the inside surface and the bottom.

When flossing, you shouldn’t just move the floss up and down in the crevices between your teeth. Make a C-shape with the floss and wrap it around your teeth because that way you can clean the whole area.

If you follow these tips, you’ll end up having a happy and healthy smile. The order doesn’t matter so much; it’s the effort that really counts! If you are worried about whether you are brushing and flossing correctly, please give Flowers Dentistry a call today! Our staff will discuss how to brush and floss properly and give you other helpful tips. We look forward to hearing from you today at 623-551-8000.

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