General dentistry in Gilbert

Which Comes First, Brushing or Flossing?

General dentistry in Gilbert

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? While you’re pondering the answer to that age-old question, we’ll ask another which comes first question that is apropos to the dental world. Ready? Here it is: Which comes first, brushing or flossing? We’re Lifetime Family Dental, and we practice general dentistry in Gilbert, AZ. Though we’ve got an opinion on whether the chicken or egg came first, we’ll reserve that for now and answer the burning question on your mind as to whether you should floss first or brush first.

We All Agree on One Thing

It’s fitting that we follow up our last two blog posts on proper brushing and flossing techniques with this post on choosing the correct order for these two hygiene habits. There is quite a bit of debate on which of the two habits comes first. But one thing dental offices agree on across the board is that doing both DAILY is essential for long-term dental health. Proper brushing twice a day (for two minutes each time) and proper flossing once a day are crucial.

Brushing First

The differences of opinion about whether brushing or flossing comes first have to do with the theories on how plaque is best removed. One school of thought is that brushing first effectively removes the plaque over most surfaces of your teeth. And if you’re brushing properly, it also removes the plaque from under the 1-millimeter “pocket” at the gumline. As a result, the belief is that when you floss, you’ll minimize the risk of pushing plaque from the greater surfaces of your teeth and gums into the spaces between your teeth. In addition, the understanding is that brushing first with a fluoride toothpaste and then flossing before you rinse enables the fluoride to be pushed into the interdental spaces, where it can do its job of fighting cavities.

Flossing First

The other school of thought is that flossing first is more effective. Flossing loosens bacteria and food scraps from in between your teeth, clearing the way for the fluoride toothpaste used in brushing to follow-up with its preventive coating.

In fact, a study released in July 2018 revealed that the amount of plaque found in between teeth was significantly less when study participants flossed first.  The study concluded that flossing first is preferred, both for reducing plaque between teeth and also for increasing the amount of fluoride that can then effectively reach between the teeth.

Faithful Flossing and Brushing

If you floss daily and properly brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, you are well on your way to keeping your teeth healthy and strong! Lifetime Family Dental practices general dentistry in Gilbert, AZ, and we recommend you floss first, then brush. But equally important is being regular in your routine. And added to your home oral care, we recommend 2 dental cleanings per year to professionally clean away any stubborn plaque buildup. If you’re new to the Phoenix Valley and you’re looking for a caring, gentle dentistry office to help keep your pearly whites at their best, come and meet our staff or give us a call. We’ll be glad to answer your questions and we’ll do our best to take care of your smile for a lifetime. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the chicken and the egg: in our opinion, the chicken came first!


Images used under creative commons license (Commercial Use)  (Flickr) Kelly Teague