The most important form of preventive dentistry is your home hygiene routine. It’s important to get it right, especially now with more people going longer between appointments. While most people brush before they floss, it turns out that it’s significantly more effective to floss first, then brush. Here are three reasons why you should floss before brushing.
Although there aren’t many studies about oral hygiene and the effectiveness of flossing, what we have seems to show that flossing first leads to more effective plaque removal. In a 2018 study, researchers showed that people removed more plaque between their teeth and overall when they flossed first.
The theory is that flossing first effectively broke up plaque, making it easier to remove with brushing. In addition, plaque that was partially dislodged by flossing but not removed could then be removed by brushing. Removing more plaque can help you avoid cavities and gum disease.
Fluoride is good for dental health. When your teeth replace lost minerals, fluoride can take the place of calcium in your teeth. With some fluoride interspersed in your teeth, your enamel becomes more resistant to attack by acid in food or drink or released by oral bacteria. Fluoride also makes it harder for oral bacteria to flourish.
For maximum effectiveness, fluoride needs to penetrate throughout your mouth. The same 2018 study cited above showed that flossing first made it easier for fluoride to penetrate the space between your teeth. This helps protect the space between your teeth so you can avoid interdental cavities, which are harder to detect and treat.
The final reason to floss first is more about the psychology of oral hygiene. A lot fewer people floss than brush, largely because people either forget to floss or decide not to because it’s seen as a nuisance. Flossing first can help you floss more consistently.
If you brush first, you are more likely to either forget to floss or decide that it seems like a nuisance and simply skip it. However, if you floss first, you are highly unlikely to forget to brush. Plus, brushing is easier and more rewarding than flossing–it gives you that fresh mouth feeling–so it doesn’t seem like so much of a burden, and you will choose to floss.
If you’re overdue for a professional cleaning or dental checkup in Tulsa, it’s time to schedule one. Contact élan by Dr. Meghan Hodges
in Tulsa at (918) 528-3330
to schedule an appointment.