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It’s best to floss your teeth before you brush them.
Research shows flossing before brushing has more benefits, including:
Flossing releases interdental plaque, food particles, and bacteria that have built up between your teeth. When you floss after you brush, those particles linger in your mouth. They can lead to increased plaque, cavities, and gum disease.
When you floss before you brush, it’s easier to remove the particles you release during flossing. It also allows the fluoride from your toothpaste to work more effectively.
Ultimately, flossing before you brush keeps your teeth and gums healthy, helping to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Dr. Khushbu Aggarwal, one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists, recommends the following routine to maintain excellent oral hygiene:
Before cleaning your teeth, always take out any removable appliances you wear. Examples of removable appliances include:
You can’t clean your teeth as thoroughly while wearing these appliances. You can also damage them if you brush or floss your teeth with them inserted.
Keep your appliances clean but wash them separately. Depending on the type of appliances you have, your dentist will give you more detailed instructions on how to keep them clean.
Once you’ve removed any appliances, it’s time to floss your teeth.
Flossing is an integral part of your oral care routine. Studies show it enhances all the benefits of toothbrushing, including interdental plaque reduction and improving the health of your teeth and gums.3
However, it’s unnecessary to floss your teeth every time you brush them. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should floss your teeth once a day.4
Always brush your teeth after you’ve flossed. Brushing your teeth will remove any particles or bacteria you’ve freed up by flossing.
The ADA recommends brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that keeps your dental enamel strong and prevents cavities.
Research shows that fluoride toothpaste prevents decay much more effectively than non-fluoridated toothpaste.5 You only need to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when brushing. For children, a rice-sized amount may be sufficient.
Complete your routine by rinsing with fluoridated mouthwash. While you should never substitute mouthwash for flossing or brushing, it can boost the effectiveness of your overall routine.
Mouthwash can kill bacteria in areas difficult to reach with dental floss or a toothbrush. It can also help improve bad breath.
Wait at least 30 minutes after you complete your routine before you eat, drink, or rinse your mouth with any other substance, including water.
The fluoride from your dental products should remain undisturbed in your mouth for as long as possible. Eating or drinking can wash away the fluoride and reduce its effectiveness.
To maximize your oral hygiene routine, follow these tips:
Seeing your dentist for routine professional teeth cleanings is essential to maintaining oral health. While your at-home dental hygiene routine is crucial, it can’t replace professional care.
According to Dr. Aggarwal, a dental professional can examine your mouth for issues you might not recognize, such as tooth decay and gum disease. They can advise you on the next steps if you're developing a dental problem.
Your dentist and dental hygienist will use advanced equipment and techniques to remove plaque and tartar. They’ll also evaluate how well you’re cleaning your teeth at home and give you recommendations on how to improve.
Visit your dentist every 6 months or as recommended for regular exams and cleanings.
Flossing your teeth before brushing has many benefits, including plaque control, increased fluoride effectiveness, and gum disease prevention. Brushing after flossing can help remove the food particles and bacteria that flossing inevitably releases.
A good oral hygiene routine includes removing dental appliances, flossing your teeth, brushing your teeth, and rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash. Avoid eating, drinking, or rinsing your mouth with other fluids for 30 minutes to maximize your routine’s effectiveness.
Dentists recommend flossing once a day for excellent oral hygiene. Visit your dentist for a professional cleaning and exam every 6 months.
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