Which Comes First: the Brush or Floss?

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You most likely have a well-established nightly oral hygiene routine, but you may be curious if there is an optimal sequence when it comes to taking care of your smile. A 2018 research study reported that flossing before brushing removes more plaque than the other way around. 

Too keep your smiles as plaque-free as possible in between professional teeth cleanings, try performing your smile routine in this order: floss, mouthwash, and finish with your toothbrush. 

Step 1: Floss

Flossing is not a task to rush through. Floss removes harmful plaque and calculus between the teeth. Many people think that just popping the floss in between the teeth is sufficient. However, to effectively remove plaque, it is best to floss slowly. Go up and around each tooth and use a new section of floss for each tooth. 

Step 2: Mouthwash

Did you know brushing your teeth only cleans about 25% of your mouth? The rest of the mouth still has harmful bacteria lurking that can easily transfer to the teeth. Mouthwash rinses away bacteria, freshens breath, and rebalances pH levels in the mouth. Incorporating a mouthwash with the ADA seal of approval will take your oral hygiene routine to the next level.

Many people are tempted to finish their routine with mouthwash, but using mouthwash after brushing rinses away the active ingredients in toothpaste. It is best to use mouthwash in between flossing and brushing to remove excess food particles that come loose during flossing.

Step 3: Brush

While flossing and mouthwash may only be part of your nightly routine, you should brush your teeth both after breakfast and before you go to sleep. Brush your teeth for a full two minutes every time you brush. You can ensure you get the full two minutes in by setting a timer, playing a two-minute song, or using an eclectic toothbrush with a built-in timer. You should dedicate 30 seconds to each quadrant of the mouth to get a thorough cleaning. Use a type of toothpaste with fluoride for added protection against cavities. 

No matter what order your brush and floss, it is more important that you do them every day and correctly. Give this sequence a try! If it is not for you, don’t sweat it! You can still maintain a healthy smile no matter what order you choose to perform your oral hygiene routine. 

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