should you floss before or after brushing
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Question: Should You Floss Before or After Brushing?

When practicing good oral hygiene, mistakes are quite common as there is, unfortunately, a prevalence of myths and misinformation. An important question you don’t hear enough is should you floss before or after brushing? Or how do you effectively floss if you have braces?

On the one hand, it makes sense to think that you can floss after brushing to get out the food bits that your brush couldn’t. But surprisingly, dentists have to say otherwise. This article answers all the questions you might have about flossing.

What Is Flossing?


To floss, you use dental floss. Dental floss is a cord or filament that’s thin enough to get in the tiny gaps between your teeth. It’s typically made of plastic, although some are made from nylon.

Dental floss is made to be flexible and sturdy enough to stand friction but smooth enough to avoid damaging your gums. To floss with it, you hold two ends of the string, push it into the gaps between your teeth and slide it up and down gently.

Flossing helps to dislodge food particles stuck between the teeth and helps reduce the build-up of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. It’s an important part of oral hygiene that you should perform regularly to keep your gums and teeth healthy and have a dazzling smile.

How To Floss

Flossing is easy unless you have braces because they have a wire that gets in the way. You need to give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to floss properly every day, and longer if you have braces.

Here’s the correct flossing method to follow for teeth without braces:

#1. Take roughly 18 to 24 inches of dental floss.

#2. Stretch and hold the piece of dental floss tightly in both your hands using your thumbs and index fingers.

#3. Place the dental floss between your teeth.

#4. Curve the floss into a C shape and rub it across the edges of the teeth. Make sure you reach the gum but be careful in that area.

#5. Repeat steps 1-4 for every gap between teeth.

Flossing With Braces

Flossing can be especially tricky with braces because braces involve a wire going through them horizontally across your teeth. This can make it impossible to get to the gum area while flossing. However, there are some flossing tools you can purchase that can help keep the spaces between your teeth plaque-free if you have braces:

#1. Floss Threader: Allows you to get dental floss under the wires.

#2. Waxed Floss: Very smooth and less likely to get caught on braces.

#3. Water Flosser Machine: Pushes water out of a pinhole at high speed to help dislodge food bits stuck between your teeth.

#4. Interdental Flossing Brushes: Cleans out debris stuck on the braces, wires, and between your teeth.

#5. AirFloss: Shoots out bursts of air to clean your teeth.

Is It Better to Floss Before You Brush or Vice-versa?


Image source: Pinterest

Studies have shown that flossing before you brush is better at reducing plaque build-up in the mouth, and here’s why.

Floss Before Brushing

Every time you eat, some bits of food are bound to get stuck between your teeth. Using dental floss to get them out can help you clean your mouth better while also making it easier for you to brush your teeth later. If you brush first and floss later, a lot of the food bits that come out during flossing will remain on your teeth until the next time you brush or floss.

Floss After You Brush

It’s not that flossing after brushing is bad for you or unhelpful in any way. But regardless of whether or not you floss after brushing you must floss before. This sequence is important to ensure the removal of all food bits and prevent plaque build-up.

Flossing Tools

Here are some of the flossing tools you can use to keep your gums and teeth clean.

  • Traditional Dental Floss

Dental Floss

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Traditional dental floss are available in both waxed and non-waxed varieties. They come in small concealed rolls, which allow you to pull out as much floss as you need and break it off.

  • Oral Irrigators

Oral Irrigators

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Oral irrigators are handheld devices that push water at a high speed through a small jet. It allows for effective food and plaque cleansing. They’re ideal for people with braces who can’t get a string between their teeth.

  • Interdental Brushes


Image source: Pinterest

An interdental brush is a small brush designed for removing stubborn pieces of food or plaque from between your teeth. This tool reaches areas that a regular toothbrush cannot. It has incredibly thin and flexible bristles that you can push into the spaces between your teeth as you’re brushing.

Other Dental Hygiene Tips


#1. Always brush your teeth before going to bed to prevent plaque from building up during the night.

#2. Don’t forget to clean your tongue. You can purchase a tongue scraper or use the back of your brush if it comes with a tongue cleaner. Your tongue also needs regular cleaning as it can also cause bad breath if left unclean.

#3. Use a toothpaste containing Fluoride. Fluoride is the leading substance that can help combat germs and prevent tooth decay.

#4. Floss as often as you brush and floss right before brushing.

#5. Consider purchasing a mouthwash; they have several benefits like reducing acid build-up in the mouth.

#6. Stay hydrated; don’t let your mouth go dry.

#7. Avoid or limit your consumption of fizzy beverages, sugary sweets or drinks, and alcohol.

#8. If you smoke cigarettes, try to quit smoking altogether. Tobacco is notorious for causing gum disease and tooth decay early in adults, although it is also unhealthy for a plethora of other reasons.


When, And How Often, Should You Floss?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once a day using traditional floss or an interdental cleaner unless you have braces, in which case you can opt for oral irrigators.

How Do You Properly Floss?

The proper way to floss is to get the strings between the teeth, bend them along the edges of each tooth, and scrape back and forth from the top, all the way down to the gum area.

Is It Better to Use Mouthwash Before or After You Brush And Floss?

There’s a lot of speculation concerning mouthwash. Some experts say it’s better to use mouthwash before brushing and flossing because it gets a lot of food out, making the following two steps easier. Some argue you should avoid mouthwash immediately after brushing, and use it later. It’s probably best to check with your dentist on this one.

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