Should You Floss Before or After Brushing Your Teeth?
One night, shortly after my wife and I got married, we were getting ready for bed and she noticed that I brush my teeth after I floss. She had always brushed before flossing. We probably would've discussed this fascinating subject in more detail if we hadn't been so tired...
Interestingly, we had both been brushing and flossing in a different order for twenty-some years of our lives before we met each other and we both had pretty good results to show for it.
My thought process goes like this: it wouldn't make sense to wash your hands, and then pick out all of the stuff under your nails because that would just get the dirt all over your freshly-washed hands. So why would anyone in their right mind floss after brushing?
Well, here's why: Those who advocate flossing after brushing state that when you floss first, you don't brush the plaque away, you simply push it back into the spaces between your teeth where it can grow and cause cavities.
So who's right? Should you floss before brushing your teeth? Or should you brush your teeth before flossing?
Should You Floss Before or After Brushing?
After plowing through several dental hygiene-related textbooks, I couldn't find any information on whether you should brush or floss first.
After reading online, I noticed that there are people who are very passionate about this subject — as this forum post demonstrates!
I think the reason that there's not really any concrete recommendations about whether you should brush or floss first is because it really doesn't matter whether you brush or floss first.
The main reason we need to brush and floss is because every time we eat or drink fermentable carbohydrates, the little bugs that live in our mouth grow, reproduce, and build homes on our teeth. Their waste products are what harm our teeth.
Learn more about plaque by reading What Every Human Needs to Know About Plaque.
The best way to combat plaque is to disrupt it, or destroy the intricate colony that it has built on your teeth. When the bugs are floating around in your mouth, they don't harm your teeth. They only harm your teeth when they have attached to your teeth and grown into a layer on top of your teeth. By brushing and flossing, you remove the bugs from your teeth temporarily. They will re-attach, but then you can simply brush and floss again to disrupt their little home once again and put them in their place.
As long as you are disrupting the bacteria that live between your teeth regularly, they won't be able to cause cavities. When you floss, you scrape them away from their home and it will take them a some time to regroup, get organized, and start growing again between your teeth.
Does It Matter If You Brush or Floss First?
It really doesn't matter! In fact, you don't even need to brush and floss at the same time. As long as you're eating good foods, brushing twice a day, flossing once per day, and avoiding these ten common flossing mistakes, you should be fine.
Want more tips on how to combat the plaque in your mouth? Read about these Top 12 Weapons of Plaque Destruction!
Do you have any questions, comments, or thoughts on whether you should brush or floss first? In what order do you brush and floss? Feel free to leave your opinions below in the comments section. Thanks for reading!
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