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Flossing or brushing: which comes first?

Posted Apr 24th, 2019

Flossing or brushing: which comes first?

Are your teeth clean enough to brush?


I am standing in front of the bathroom mirror, holding a toothbrush in one hand, and a floss in the other hand. My old habit makes me start brushing first then I check my teeth to see if they are clean enough.

Working in a dental office for many years makes me feel guilty if I do not floss thoroughly thinking “what should I tell my hygienist at next cleaning appointment if I do not floss? Will they notice that I have not been diligent at flossing although I emphasize the importance of the flossing to my kids? Well...let's do it." That's why the flossing comes after brushing for me most of the time.

Should you brush or floss first?

Recent research*, in fact, has shown inter-dental cleaning before brushing is the best way to clean our teeth. It found that flossing loosens bacteria and food debris from between the teeth, which allows brushing to be much more successful at removing plaque. Also it's better for our teeth because more fluoride is likely to remain in your mouth afterwards.

Interesting! I have never thought about this before. A small change can make a big difference for my oral health. Let me set this as my new year's resolution.

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

By Helen Park, Treatment Coordinator

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