While many of us will be reminded of how important it is to practice proper dental hygiene daily, very few of us will take the time to follow through with it. Without a good dental routine, you’ll be forced to fight tooth damage, bad breath, discolored teeth, and much more.
For those that floss, kudos to you because it’s more rare than you’d think. At the same time, those that do floss probably don’t think too much about whether it’s best to floss before or after you brush.
When you think about it, the common order of events here is to brush and then floss. Contrary to popular belief, the proper order is to floss and then brush -- and the reasoning is more simple than you’d think.
First off, let’s all agree that brushing and flossing are to dental hygiene as noodles and sauce are to pasta. They’re both half of the equation. Brushing will clean the general areas of the mouth, while flossing will get deep between the teeth.
When you floss, you’ll be lifting and removing plaque or debris from between your teeth and gums. When you’re finished, that plaque and debris will still be present in the mouth. This is why flossing before you brush is important, that way you can rinse your mouth before allowing the toothbrush to finish the job.
Some of you might be saying, “Well, that’s what mouthwash is for!” Believe it or not, you shouldn’t even use mouthwash after you brush. When we brush, it leaves behind a film of fluoride to protect our teeth over a period of time. When we rinse our mouth after brushing, this fluoride washes with it.
For that reason, many doctors will suggest using mouthwash after flossing, but before brushing. Do your best to avoid rinsing after brushing.
Although you won’t be required to floss twice per day, like we do with brushing our teeth, it will be a daily requirement. Most people choose to do this at night after they’ve eaten all their food for the day. Others like to do it in the morning. The important thing here is that you have a regular routine with it.
Another important note: toothpicks don’t replace floss. Many people will walk around with a toothpick in order to keep debris and food out of our teeth. While they’re effective, try walking around with floss instead. They make portable ones made for on-the-go and will be more effective at cleaning your teeth -- rather than just removing debris.
It’s no wonder why every dentist makes it a point to ask every patient what their flossing habits are. Not only is it an under-utilized dental hygiene method, but it’s also mis-utilized at the same time.
If you have any questions about your dental hygiene routine, don’t be shy to bring it up to your dentist during your next check-up. If you’re doing something wrong or could be doing something better, it’s best to find out ASAP.
Contact us today at Great Neck Family Dentistry if you have any questions!
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