Is It Better To Floss Before Or After Brushing?

Is It Better To Floss Before Or After Brushing?
Posted on 04/08/2019

Preventative Oral Care In Minneapolis, Minnesota

If you’re either just starting or in the midst of clear or metal braces or Invisalign treatment, you may be wondering if there is an important answer to this often-asked question. Your local orthodontist, Dr. Meister of Meister Orthodontics, and her friendly and professional dental staff agree that both flossing and brushing are important steps to creating the best oral hygiene and a positive outcome from your orthodontic treatment. And, according to some recent research released just last year, there does seem to be some clear evidence that flossing first can help you achieve greater oral health.

Benefits Of Flossing First

Many orthodontists have recommended for years that their patients floss first, only because it is the task that many patients choose not to complete and it can be a game-changer especially when patients are wearing clear or metal braces. Most patients agree that if you’re going to skip brushing or flossing, it's flossing that usually gets the boot. So, orthodontists concluded that if patients floss first, then they would still brush and get the benefits of both. However, the new study indicates that there is more to flossing first.

Researchers discovered that the quantity of plaque between the teeth and throughout the mouth was substantially reduced when research participants used the “floss first, then brush” order. Their thoughts are that when patients floss it loosens the sticky bacteria and food particles from between the teeth that your toothbrush just can’t reach. This bacteria can cause plaque to develop. Then, when they brush and rinse afterward, those particles are washed away.

While other studies have shown that flossing may not reduce cavities, they have shown that flossing does reduce periodontal disease or gingivitis. Plaque and bacteria are the main causes of periodontal disease, an inflammation that happens when bacteria grow below the gum line. Periodontal disease can lead to swelling, irritation, gum recession, and tooth loss if left untreated.

The new study also determined that flossing first and then brushing allowed more fluoride to remain in the mouth since all the participants were brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Brushing & Rinsing

Don’t forget that the important second step of this combo is brushing, as it has been proven to reduce cavities. After flossing, you’ll want to gently brush your teeth and gums with a soft-bristled toothbrush. As we said earlier, brushing will help remove the bacteria that cause decay on the outside surfaces of your teeth, as well as assist in preventing gum disease. Pick out a toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand and in your mouth, and use it twice a day. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums, moving the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes, brushing the outer tooth surfaces and the inner tooth surfaces. Make sure to avoid any toothbrush with extremely hard bristles, as they can irritate your gum line and cause premature gum recession. After brushing, Dr. Meister also recommends using an antibacterial mouthwash to get rid of any germs that might still be hanging out in your mouth. Mouthwash kills 99% of bad breath germs, has a 21% greater gingivitis reduction than merely brushing and flossing alone, and was shown in a clinical study to reduce 52% more plaque than just brushing and flossing alone.

Flossing With Traditional Metal Braces vs. Invisalign Clear Aligners

Brushing and flossing every day are key elements to a healthy smile...but for those who are receiving orthodontic treatment from your Twin Cities orthodontist, keeping your mouth clean is more important than ever! Regrettably, there is a better chance that your teeth can develop plaque and tooth decay during your braces or Invisalign treatment, The recesses and crevices found in and around traditional metal braces make the perfect hiding places for food particles to get stuck. Dr. Meister and her staff can help you navigate flossing in and around your brackets and wires and show you how to use a floss threader if needed. However, if you want to be able unencumbered flossing, consider seeing if you are a candidate for Invisalign. With Invisalign clear aligners, you can remove your trays at any time, allowing you to properly clean your teeth with ease. Check out our Invisalign FAQs to find out more.

Contact Your Twin Cities Orthodontist For Expert Oral Care Today!

Start now with this oral health care hygiene plan and you’ll see the benefits immediately! We’re here with oral hygiene tips and all the support you need to stay on track to keep your mouth healthy. If you have any questions about flossing, brushing or any orthodontic treatment, never hesitate to give us a call at 651-699-2013. Dr. Meister is one of the few female orthodontists in the Minneapolis/St. Paul areas and is extremely skilled and experienced in all types of orthodontic treatment. She and her team will have you beaming with a new, beautiful smile in no time! Call today for your free consultation!