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October 25, 2010

Brush first, then floss? Floss first, then brush?

So which comes first, the chicken or the egg?  I've heard arguments from knowledgeable people for one or the other.  So which is it?

The main argument for "floss first, then brush" is that flossing is nasty.  It's very important, but kind of gross.  Even in the cleanest mouth, the bacteria that you find under your gum line (known as "anaerobes") is pretty smelly.  You get stuff on your hands, you get stuff on the mirror and in general, it's messy.  So if you floss first, then you can brush the nastiness away.  

With that said, I'm a strong proponent of "brush first, then floss."  When you brush with toothpaste, you're removing the bulk of the plaque on the teeth as well as placing fluoride on the teeth.  This fluoride helps to remineralize spots on the teeth where cavities have started.  However, you can't really get your brush in the spots between teeth.  This is where the flossing comes in.  When you floss after you brush, you can force the topical fluoride left behind after brushing into the "in-between" spots.  In this way, you're getting the most benefit of the fluoride from your toothpaste.

ACT So what's the solution for the nastiness of flossing?  My new favorite dental health product: ACT Total Care Mouthwash.  I can see the headlines now: "Saginaw Dentist Shills for Big Pharma."  What I like about this stuff is that it tastes really good, like a mouthwash, but also delivers an "over the counter" dose of fluoride as well.  There are probably other brands that have both a fresh, minty finish as well as fluoride, but I haven't seen them yet.  

So try both out.  See what you think and let me know at alan@meadfamilydental.com  Honestly, if you're one of the few people who floss each and every day, I don't really care when you do it...just keep doing it!  

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Usually, we floss our teeth after eating to clean the debris within the teeth. It will be also good that you would floss after brushing, just to make sure that your mouth is tottally clean. It is also good that you gargle mouthwash to kill germs.

You are right. Brushing the teeth should come first before flossing, so that it could wash away the mess that floss has created. However, I also have to say that it would be better, maybe, if you do the flossing halfway while you brush your teeth. I think it would be cleaner that way since you clean it before and after you floss. No more nastiness to be worried about. The mouthwash thing really helps after brushing. It's like a polisher that refines your teeth after you clean and makes your mouth feel really fresh!

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