What to do first in your oral health regimen – flossing or brushing?

9 October 2018

Flossing then brushing has emerged as possibly the most effective technique for maximising the removal of plaque between the teeth and in the mouth overall. 

A report featured in the Journal of Periodontology (JOP), published by the American Academy of Periodontology, details a two-phase study of 25 participants that employed a brush-floss technique first and then a floss-brush approach. 

While taking care to emphasise that both brushing and flossing are integral to good oral hygiene, the report did indicate, according to the Dental Tribune, that “flossing before brushing may be the ideal sequence for the most thorough removal of dental plaque”. 

“The researchers contend that as flossing loosens bacteria and debris from between the teeth, brushing afterward (when the mouth is rinsed with water) further clears the mouth of these particles. Plaque bacteria are the primary culprit behind the development of periodontal disease, an inflammatory condition that occurs when bacteria accumulate below the gum line. Periodontal disease can lead to swelling, irritation, gum recession and tooth loss if left untreated.” 

Additionally, flossing then brushing with a fluoride toothpaste meant that “fluoride, a mineral that aids in the prevention of cavities and tooth decay, remained in the mouth at higher levels when participants flossed before brushing.” 

To read the full study, go to the JOP portal at the Wiley Online Library