Should You Floss Before or After Brushing?

We all have been there once or twice, sitting in front of the dentist when they ask. How frequently do you brush your teeth? Do you floss? And do you floss before or after brushing?

Many of you who follow a spotless dental hygiene routine may reply confidently. But others might worry that they are not managing their teeth as much as expected. It could also be possible that you might have some doubts about the whole process. 

If you want to keep your teeth in first-class shape, this is the right time to clear those doubts.

A common question to ask your dentist is – should you floss before or after brushing your teeth?

Now working on both is incredible. But the order and manner in which you do these routine jobs could specify how strong your teeth will remain. 

Read on to understand everything about flossing, brushing, and whether you should floss or brush first.

Brushing And Flossing

Brushing your teeth is an essential method of discarding food and plaque that glues to your teeth. As per American Dental Association (ADA), brushing two times a day using fluoride toothpaste can be very effective. 

It helps avoid plaque from piling up, reducing the capacity for plaque to result in decomposition in the tooth enamel. Such a habit of brushing teeth also makes it easier to fight against gum diseases.

Flossing involves the interdental cleaning of teeth using floss picks, interdental brushes, or water flowers. ADA recommended this procedure to improve oral health and reduce the chances of cavities and gum disease.

Further, floss is proficient in cleaning the places you cannot reach and removing waste that can result in plaque buildup.

How Is Flossing And Brushing Essential? And Should You Floss Before Or After Brushing?

floss before or after brushing


Floss and brushing work in a team to restrain your teeth from getting plaque and keep your breath fresh. So, does it matter if you floss first or brush later on? The quick answer- It does matter.

It may be surprising. But a study found that doing floss first followed by brushing is more beneficial in reducing interdental plaque than brushing first and flossing second.

In addition, this process impacts considerable fluoride retention between teeth. That is because flossing lessens the bacteria and other harmful residues between teeth. 

What Is The Best Practice Of Cleaning Teeth?

floss before or after brushing


Several people first brush, floss, and then do mouthwash. While some only brush their teeth and skip the other two steps. According to dentists, it is more beneficial to floss first, then brush, and at last use mouthwash. To resolve the confusion, here is the best practice you can follow:

  • The session of cleaning teeth should always start with floss. Focus on removing any noticeable pieces of food and waste by fully flossing between each tooth. 

The session would continue for about five minutes. But this does not mean you rush through it. Do it slowly and take the brush in and out between each tooth.

  • After completing this prep task, it is time to time to brush. The most beneficial method for brushing teeth is moving the brush in small circular motions. 

Make sure you brush all sides of your teeth(top, bottom, back, and front). You can tilt your brush at a subtle angle that efficiently reaches behind the gum flaps at the bottom of your teeth deck. 

Ideally, you spend two to three minutes on this cleaning step. Also, rinse your mouth properly after brushing so that the remaining toothpaste in your mouth gets alleviated. 

  • Next, wait for a couple of hours and use mouthwash. Immediate mouthwash use after brushing can wash away active ingredients that help your teeth against bad breath and cavities.

Further, cleaning your mouth after brushing discards fluoride. This may help strengthen teeth and fight tooth decay.

You can use Listerine antiseptic or chilly mint mouthwash to rinse your teeth. It is incredible in removing the bacteria and giving you 24-hour protection against germs.

Important Tips:

  • Use floss rather than a toothpick to discard food bits stuck within your teeth. Using a toothpick can harm your gums and lead to infections.
  • Always use dental products recommended by dentists or with the acceptance seal of the American Dental Association.
  • Do not eat or drink for about thirty minutes after brushing and flossing your teeth. It will let the enamel harden again after the whole process.
  • For more positive results, replace your toothbrush after three to four months. As with time, the toothbrush bristles begin to tilt and fray, resulting in a loss of strength. Consequently, your teeth and tongue will be less effectively cleaned.

How Can You Make Flossing Part Of Your Daily Routine?

For many people, cleaning teeth is a time-consuming task. But this extra step to your oral hygiene can keep your mouth clean and provide your teeth extra safety from disease.

Whether you floss before or after brushing, it’s crucial to make it a daily part of your routine. 

So, pick a time to do it daily. You can choose to do it in the morning, after lunch or at night. However, this is all your personal choice.

Another thing you can do is to keep your floss next to the toothbrush and make sure it is noticeable. Having it out can serve as a reminder that helps you not miss the step. 

Also, floss every day before you clean your teeth for about one week. Once you make it a week, form a goal to do it for one more week. Soon, you would not have to worry about it anymore.

Also Read: Does It Matter What Type Of Toothbrush You Are Using?

How To Choose The Right Toothpaste?

floss before or after brushing


Nowadays, the dental hygiene aisle competes against the cereal aisle with many brands for cavity prevention, sensitivity, and bad breath. Yet, finding the right toothpaste can be very beneficial for you.

Often it happens that when we select our toothpaste, we try to choose a product that claims to be the healthiest.

But while picking up any toothpaste, you should also consider the cause you want to treat. So we recommend you to sit down and think about the biggest concerns you have in your mouth and then make the buying decision.

You can also consult with a dentist to recommend products after performing evaluations or tests.

If you appear to be cavity-prone, they may suggest you use fluoride-based toothpaste such as Sensodyne. If you are a coffee lover or smoker, they may advise you to use toothpaste, which includes baking soda.

For curing gum diseases, they may assign you a product containing hydrogen peroxide. Also, they may suggest avoiding toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate because they are prone to cold sores and mouth ulcers.

If you are choosing your oral care products on your own, look for active ingredients that have to be the topmost priority, such as fluoride, which is a must in your toothpaste. We know it is time-consuming. But it helps you enjoy massive benefits of oral health in the long term. 

When To Visit A Dentist?

Apart from maintaining good oral hygiene at home, you should also see a dentist to suspect any issues with your dental health. Your dentist will examine your teeth and can instruct dental X-rays to observe any problems. Signs that you require to visit your dentist include:

  • Bleeding and swollen gums
  • Cold and hot sensitivity
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth pain

If any of the above-given symptoms accompany a fever, it can be a severe infection.


Are you a long-time flosser or a beginner in dental hygiene? Whatever your answer, know that it is never too late to make the right changes. It’s never too late to feel positive and confident about the order in which you execute these tasks. 

By flossing before brushing, you can increase the benefits of wiping out plaque, food pieces, and bacteria that are difficult to reach by brushing alone. Doing this will also help retain more fluoride. 

Additionally, using the right toothpaste helps save your teeth from sensitivity and keeps them strong for a lifetime.

We hope all your doubts about should you floss before or after brushing are cleared up now. If you still have questions, feel free to ask us in the comments below.

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