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brush or floss first

Should You Brush or Floss First? – Experts Weigh In


One of the most debatable elements of oral health care routines is whether to brush your teeth or floss or floss first. Although some firmly believe that flossing first is best, others stand firm that brushing your teeth first is more effective. On today’s blog, our Lake Forest family dentists at Lake Forest Smiles share expert advice about whether brushing or flossing first provides the best clean.

Brushing First

People who believe brushing their teeth first is the best way to clean their teeth are not wrong. Brushing your teeth first is an effective method to maintain good oral health when followed by flossing regularly. Brushing your teeth removes food debris and bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease from around your teeth and at the base of your gum line. Once you finish brushing, flossing can be the detail work to remove any leftover remnants between your teeth. Finally, our Lake Bluff family dentists recommend rinsing your mouth with water to remove the remaining debris and harmful bacteria.

Flossing First

People who believe flossing their teeth first is the best way to clean their teeth are not wrong either. Flossing removes food debris and bacteria hiding between your teeth that may cause cavities or gum disease. Furthermore, when food and bacteria get removed before brushing, the fluoride from the toothpaste can reach between your teeth and help strengthen enamel, reducing your cavity risk. Then, brushing after flossing helps remove the remaining food and bacteria.

What the Experts Say

  • A Scientific Study – Even though there is not much research regarding the order of proper oral health care steps and their efficiency, a small study of 25 dental students highlighted their findings that flossing first is better for overall oral health. During the 2018 study published in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers uncovered that participants who flossed before brushing had significantly reduced plaque presence between teeth and overall plaque levels compared to the brush before flossing group. Furthermore, those who flossed first had significantly higher fluoride levels than those who brushed first.
  • American Dental Association – The ADA recommends brushing twice a day and flossing once daily for optimal oral health, but the order is up to your personal preferences. According to the ADA, either brushing or flossing first “is acceptable as long as you do a thorough job.”
  • Our Family Dentists – Our experienced family dentists in Lincolnshire agree that the most crucial factor in good oral healthcare is that you brush and floss daily and visit our office for regular checkups and cleanings every six months. You can maintain a healthy smile with daily care and use mouthwash regularly to keep harmful bacteria at bay. So, whichever one you choose to do first, you’ll reap oral health benefits either way, and the order won’t make a noticeable difference.

Family Dentists in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire

Whether to brush first or floss first is still up for debate for many people. However, based on scientific studies and expert medical advice, the order of your oral hygiene efforts is not as vital as practicing daily oral care. Therefore, institute a daily brushing, flossing, and mouthwash regimen. Furthermore, ensure you visit our Lake Forest family dental office every six months for a checkup and cleaning. Finally, feel free to call Lake Forest Smiles at (847) 234-4800 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.

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