Should I Floss or Brush First for a Healthier Mouth?

floss or brush first

Do you floss or brush first? We get right to the point: uncovering the best practice for your oral hygiene. Research and dentists align on one approach, and we’re here to reveal it.

By understanding the impact each method has on plaque removal and enamel strength, you’ll take away the definitive answer to refine your daily dental routine. Jump into our comprehensive guide and make the right choice for the health of your teeth and gums.

Key Takeaways

  • Flossing before brushing may be more beneficial because it disrupts plaque buildup, allow toothpaste to better coat teeth, and strengthens enamel.

  • Brushing first might push plaque into the gum line, which could increase the risk of gum disease, whereas flossing first helps to prevent this.

  • Starting a good oral hygiene routine early in a child’s life is crucial, including using child-specific dental tools and regular dental check-ups.

Let’s settle this once and for all: Do You Brush or Floss First?

do you floss or brush first

The brush or floss first debate is steeped in oral hygiene lore. Some swear by brushing first, but others are staunch floss-first advocates. Research hints towards the flossing first camp as the more beneficial to oral health, primarily due to its efficacy in removing dental plaque and enhancing fluoride concentration in the mouth.

But let’s delve deeper into each argument and settle this once and for all.

The Case for Flossing First

Those who favor flossing first often view it as the more labor-intensive part of their oral hygiene routine. By tackling it first, they aim to disrupt the dental plaque buildup that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. But there’s more to this floss-first philosophy. When you floss before brushing, you’re helping to dislodge hidden food particles and bacteria from those hard-to-reach places that a toothbrush may not effectively clean. This flossing sequence aids in removing interdental plaque and food debris, thus contributing to the preservation of tooth enamel.

The act of flossing first does more than just remove plaque; it sets the stage for a more effective brushing session. With the plaque and food debris cleared away, the toothpaste can better coat the tooth surfaces, strengthening the enamel, and keeping your teeth strong and healthy.

The Case for Brushing First

On the other side of the dental debate are those who champion brushing first. The argument here is that brushing removes the bulk of plaque and food from tooth surfaces, which can make subsequent flossing more effective in cleaning those tighter spots.

Brushing first might also offer another advantage when it comes to fluoride. If you use fluoride toothpaste, as you brush, the fluoride from your toothpaste penetrates the spaces between your teeth. Following up with flossing could potentially enhance this fluoride penetration, further strengthening your tooth enamel. If you choose to use non-fluoride toothpaste, that is perfectly ok too.

However, there is a potential downside to brushing first. Dislodged plaque and food particles may linger in the mouth until the next brushing session, which could increase the risk of gum disease.

What’s The Impact on Tooth Enamel and Gum Health?

How does the order of brushing and flossing affect your tooth enamel and gum health? Flossing before brushing increases the fluoride concentration from toothpaste on tooth surfaces, which is beneficial for strengthening tooth enamel. Regular flossing, particularly before brushing, is crucial for:

  • Eliminating dental plaque

  • Protecting against enamel erosion

  • Reaching areas that are difficult to clean with a toothbrush alone

  • Preventing plaque buildup

  • Reducing the risk of developing gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.

On the other hand, brushing teeth before flossing may increase the risk of gum disease by pushing dental plaque and food debris into the gum line. This highlights the importance of flossing first in maintaining good oral health.

Essential Tools for Your Child’s Oral Hygiene Routine

When it comes to setting the stage for a lifetime of good oral health, one of the most important things you can do is arm your child with the right tools. And we’re not just talking about a toothbrush and floss. In fact, following guidelines from the American Dental Association can help ensure your child’s dental well-being.

Toothbrushes designed specifically for children, such as the Oral-B Indicator Ortho Toothbrush and the Fregum V-Shaped Orthodontic Toothbrush, can clean effectively around orthodontic brackets and wires during orthodontic treatment. The Oral-B Pro 1000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush is also recommended for its efficiency in removing persistent plaque.

Mouthwash is an essential tool in your child’s oral hygiene arsenal. It strengthens tooth enamel and repairs early stages of tooth decay, making it particularly beneficial for children with braces.

Flossing tools, like dental floss and those found in GUM Orthodontic Kits, or used in combination with water flossers like the ANWIEL Water Flosser and Ultrasonic Electric Toothbrush Combo, are crucial for reaching small spaces in orthodontic appliances and ensuring comprehensive dental care.

Lastly, remember that a soft bristle toothbrush is recommended for children to effectively remove plaque and maintain healthy gums without causing irritation.

Preventive Measures Against Tooth Decay and Periodontal Disease

do you floss or brush first

Preventing tooth decay and periodontal disease starts with a comprehensive oral hygiene routine. Flossing is essential in this endeavor as it reduces plaque accumulation along the gumline, ensuring interdental plaque reduction, and preventing tooth decay and gingivitis. Neglecting these practices can lead to poor oral hygiene, which increases the risk of dental issues.

Fluoride use is another crucial preventive measure. Using fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash after brushing and flossing can significantly increase protection against cavities.

Diet plays a pivotal role in oral health. Tooth decay is often diet-related, occurring when bacteria convert sugar into acid which damages teeth, thus avoiding sugary foods and beverages is crucial. Promoting healthy dietary choices and water as the primary beverage can significantly reduce the risk of developing tooth decay.

For those experiencing gum recession, fluoride mouthwash can provide additional protection to exposed root surfaces and can be especially beneficial for those with dry mouths.

Establishing a Good Oral Hygiene Routine Early On

Setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles begins with establishing a good oral hygiene routine early on. Of course this takes much more than just getting the floss brush mouthwash order right!

You can introduce flossing once their teeth start touching, usually around age 2 or 3, and teach proper brushing techniques with a child-size toothbrush.

Another crucial step is scheduling the first dental visit by your child’s first birthday or when the first tooth erupts. Regular dental check-ups every six months can identify and address any potential dental issues early.

You can lead by example by maintaining good oral hygiene practices yourself. Make brushing a fun activity, which influences children to adopt similar practices. And remember, flossing should complement brushing to provide a comprehensive oral care routine, protecting your child’s overall oral health.

Sparkling Charms Dental Studio: Your Partner in Pediatric Oral Care

When it comes to pediatric oral care in Baltimore, Sparkling Charms Dental Studio is a name you can trust. Committed to brightening children’s futures with healthy smiles, Sparkling Charms creates a warm, family-friendly environment and employs a gentle approach to make every dental visit comforting.

Founded by the compassionate Dr. Irene Spates, Sparkling Charms offers a broad spectrum of services including cleanings, emergency care, and special needs accommodations. Accessible dental care for children is facilitated through the acceptance of various insurance plans.

For appointments and inquiries, you can reach them at 887 E. Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230 or via email at

do you floss or brush first


The debate around whether to brush or floss first has been a long-standing one, but research suggests that flossing first might be the winner. Not only does it disrupt dental plaque buildup, but it also allows for better fluoride penetration, strengthening tooth enamel, and ultimately leading to healthier teeth and gums.

The key takeaway here is to maintain a consistent and comprehensive oral hygiene routine, which includes both brushing and flossing. And for the best oral care for your children, Sparkling Charms Dental Studio in Baltimore offers a nurturing environment and a broad range of pediatric dental services.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the proper order for brushing flossing and rinsing?

So, the proper order for an oral care routine is to floss first, use mouthwash second, and then brush your teeth. This order is recommended by dentists for the most effective dental care.

How can I prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease?

To prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, make sure to floss regularly, use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and maintain a healthy diet. These habits can greatly reduce the risk of oral health issues.

What oral hygiene tools should my child be using?

Your child should be using child-friendly toothbrushes, mouth wash, and flossing tools to maintain good oral hygiene.

Looking for a gentle pediatric dentist in Baltimore?

  • Address

    887 E. Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Phone

    (443) 681-6455

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