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Robert C. Clay, Jr., DDS, Ltd.

Should I Brush First or Should I Floss First?

October 1, 2018
Posted By: Robert Clay

Should you Brush first or should you floss first?  I've heard this question asked so many times through the years.  I've also heard different opinions from the "experts" on this topic.  If you floss first, you clean out the plaque between the teeth and allow the fluoride toothpaste to get between the teeth to the already cleaned surfaces.  If you brush first, you are introducing the fluoride toothpaste to the mouth on the brush, and when you floss, the floss can then pull the fluoride toothpaste between the teeth.  Both thoughts were valid, and my basic answer was that I was just happy that people were trying to floss.  

Recently, someone decided to actually study this question and in May of 2018, the results of this study were published in the Journal of Periodontology. This publication is one of the main sources of new information from research relating to the study of the bone and gum tissues that support the teeth.  The research focused on comparing both the reduction of plaque bacteria between the teeth (the cause of both tooth decay and gum disease), and the retention of fluoride in these areas. They wanted to see if there was an advantage to either brushing or flossing first.

Well, we finally have an answer to the big question.  After a statistical analysis, they determined that flossing before brushing resulted an a statistically significant reduction in plaque bacteria between teeth when compared to brushing before flossing.  So, the research determined that flossing first is better for the reduction of plaque.  They then analyzed the retention of fluoride on the tooth surfaces between the teeth and they also found that flossing first was better as there was a higher residual fluoride concentration on those that flossed first.  For more details on the study you can check here.

So there it answer based on science. 

It is better to floss BEFORE you brush your teeth.


Give us a call at 708-448-0273 to set up an appointment so we can see how good you are doing with your flossing.



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