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Dentists are keen to tell you to floss to maintain better oral hygiene than you can by just brushing. But when should you floss? Should you use floss before or after brushing?

In this article, we’ll talk about how flossing affects your oral hygiene, and which order you should brush and floss in to get the best results.

How Does Dental Floss Work, Anyway?

When you brush your teeth, the bristles of your brush can only reach so far into your mouth, even if you are very thorough with your brushing. In particular, your brush can’t reach the spaces in between your teeth, where even the slightest gap can fill with food debris, plaque and bacteria.

Dental floss is a thin thread coated with a waxy or soap-like substance to help it move more freely. When you use it by sliding it between your teeth, the floss can remove debris from those hard-to-reach spaces. While it may seem insignificant, there are many benefits to cleaning these neglected spaces!

Why Should I Use Dental Floss? The Benefits

Flossing offers some major extended benefits to an already-great oral hygiene routine.

For example, you may find with regular flossing that your gums are less sensitive. The first time your dental hygienist uses floss on you, he or she will likely take a “gum stick” to measure your gum health. They place in a certain spot and press it against the gums, noting the amount of pressure needed to elicit pain or bleeding. Healthy gums, especially those exposed to regular flossing, are pain-free and don’t bleed at all!

Preventing gum disease is just one of the benefits. Flossing can also help you prevent bad breath. Studies have shown that by removing food stuck between teeth, even after an otherwise thorough brushing, you prevent bacteria from feeding on them and releasing compounds with foul odors.

Your teeth can also appear brighter and less yellow near the roots where they meet your gums, since you’re preventing tartar formation by cleaning away plaque before it gets the chance to harden.
Lastly, if you have braces or other orthodontics, flossing is particularly important because it can remove food caught between each wire. Keeping your orthodontics clean can help prevent your oral hygiene from deteriorating.

Should You Floss Before or After Brushing?

Now, let’s get into the details: use floss before, or after brushing?

Flossing before you brush can offer the benefit of a more thorough cleaning.

Remember, your toothbrush bristles can only reach so far into your mouth. This leaves your interdental spaces, or the spaces between your teeth, without a proper cleaning. Using floss to clean them afterwards may only result in pushing plaque, bacteria and food debris into a mouth you have just cleaned.

If you floss before you brush, you clean these spaces first. This removes food debris and plaque buildup that your toothpaste and brush combo will sweep away effortlessly. And because your interdental spaces are now clean, the foamy detergent action of your toothpaste will penetrate them better. This offers a more effective clean. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

If you’d like to learn more about maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, get in touch with us. Lonestar Dental Center is your complete oral healthcare destination for various dental procedures and comprehensive exams. We provide excellent service from the very beginning of your time with us in Humble, TX. If you’d like to schedule an appointment or have any questions, please give us a call at (281) 233-0333.