One of the most common questions that dentists and dental nurses are asked by their patients is “Do I brush my teeth first and floss second, or floss first and brush second?” The patients concern is wondering which sequence will result in healthier teeth.
In all honesty, it is not what order you do them in that makes a difference for your dental health. What matters is if you are doing a thorough job brushing and flossing. This is important because brushing and flossing is the most successful way to ensure you are removing plaque from your teeth. It is the plaque that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Start by choosing a toothbrush that suits your mouth. Toothbrushes come in various sizes. Small, medium and large. There are different textures as well, such as soft bristles, medium and hard bristles. If you have sensitive gums you don’t want to use a toothbrush that is too hard because it could result in bleeding gums. Be sure to use your toothbrush twice a day brush at a 45 degree angle. Brush the front, back and interior tooth surface.
Creating a good brushing routine is crucial to good tooth care and hygiene. However, this is where flossing comes in. Brushing can’t remove 100% of plaque alone. Using floss can remove food particles that are wedged between teeth in places inaccessible by your toothbrush. If you don’t like using dental floss, there are alternatives. You can use a flossing pick that either vibrates between your teeth or uses water to remove mouth debris by flushing it out. Ask your dentist which one they recommend for you.
Plaque disclosing tablets are available from most drug stores and will show you if your attempts at brushing and flossing are successful. Chew the tablets once you have completed your cleaning routine and look for red marks along your teeth. The tablets works by dyeing remaining plaque red showing you where you need to clean more. This is a great way to show children how important it is to brush thoroughly. Even if you think your teeth are clean, they may not be and the red will highlight this.