Brushing and flossing are oral care steps you need to be taking every day. You probably already have a set oral care routine in place, but many people wonder what order they should be performing the steps in. Should you floss first or should you brush first? The answer is floss.
Have you ever eaten certain foods and found that simply brushing your teeth isn’t enough to dislodge the remaining particles from between your teeth? That’s why flossing prior to brushing is so important. When you use dental floss, you are able to remove any debris like food particles, plaque and bacteria that have found their way between your teeth. Flossing helps get into the nooks and crannies between your teeth and get rid of most of what’s trapped there. Then, when you brush your teeth, the toothpaste is able to better penetrate the space between your teeth for a complete cleaning.
There is actually a right and wrong way to floss. Make sure you are flossing the correct way by pulling 18-24 inches of string from the floss dispenser. It’s a good idea to measure how much floss you’re using because you don’t want to use too little or be wasteful by using too much. Once you have the floss in hand, wrap the ends of it around your index and middle fingers. Secure floss around each tooth, making a C shape. Then, move the floss back and forth and up and down against the side of each tooth.
When it comes to brushing your teeth, make sure you are using a low-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Put some of the toothpaste on your brush and hold the brush at a 45-degree angle corresponding to your gum line. Move the brush back and forth over each tooth. You will need to do this on the inside, outside and top of each tooth. Brushing your teeth shouldn’t take less than two minutes. If need be, use a timer or purchase an electric toothbrush that shuts off on its own after the appropriate amount of brushing has been done. You should also brush your tongue to get rid of the odor-causing bacteria that can sometimes live there. When you’re finished, spit out the toothpaste and avoid rinsing your mouth out with water. By rinsing with water you are removing whatever thin layer of toothpaste is left behind. This thin layer will help keep your teeth’s enamel strong.
The last step in good oral care is mouthwash. Pick a mouthwash that contains fluoride (you can ask your dentist to recommend one) and rinse with it for 30 seconds. Swish it back and forth between your cheeks, allowing it to get all over your mouth before spitting it out. Mouthwash helps your teeth’s enamel and keeps your breath smelling fresh.