Should You Floss Your Teeth Before or After Brushing?

3 min read

A close up of a woman's teeth. Should i floss before or after brushing?

When it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing are two essential habits. While most people understand the importance of brushing their teeth, there is often confusion about when to floss. Should you floss your teeth before or after brushing? In this article, we will explore the benefits of flossing and provide recommendations on the best time to incorporate it into your oral care routine.

The Importance of Flossing

Flossing is a crucial part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. While brushing helps remove plaque and food particles from the surfaces of your teeth, it doesn’t effectively clean the areas between your teeth and along the gumline. This is where flossing comes in. By using dental floss, you can remove plaque and debris from these hard-to-reach areas, preventing the buildup of bacteria that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Before or After Brushing: Which is Better?

The order in which you brush and floss can impact the effectiveness of your oral care routine. Some argue that flossing before brushing allows the fluoride from your toothpaste to better reach the spaces between your teeth. Others believe that flossing after brushing helps remove any loosened debris and plaque more effectively.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to floss regularly, regardless of whether you do it before or after brushing. Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining good oral health. However, there are a few factors to consider when deciding on the order of your routine.

Flossing Before Brushing

Flossing before brushing allows you to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and along the gumline. By doing this first, you can then brush away any loosened debris, ensuring a more thorough cleaning. Additionally, flossing before brushing can help dislodge any stubborn plaque, making it easier for the fluoride in your toothpaste to penetrate and strengthen your tooth enamel.

Flossing After Brushing

Flossing after brushing can also be effective in maintaining good oral hygiene. By brushing first, you can remove a significant amount of plaque and debris from the surfaces of your teeth. Flossing afterwards helps to further clean the areas that your toothbrush cannot reach, ensuring a more comprehensive cleaning.

Additional Tips for Effective Flossing

Regardless of whether you choose to floss before or after brushing, here are some additional tips to ensure you are flossing effectively:

  1. Use enough floss: Use approximately 18 inches of dental floss, winding most of it around your middle fingers, leaving an inch or two to work with.
  2. Be gentle: Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle back-and-forth motion. Avoid snapping the floss, as this can irritate your gums.
  3. Form a C-shape: Curve the floss into a C-shape around each tooth, gently sliding it under the gumline.
  4. Use a clean section: As you move from tooth to tooth, use a clean section of floss to avoid transferring bacteria.
  5. Be consistent: Aim to floss at least once a day to maintain optimal oral health.


So, should you floss your teeth before or after brushing? The answer ultimately depends on personal preference and what works best for you. The most important thing is to make flossing a regular part of your oral care routine. Whether you choose to floss before or after brushing, the key is consistency. By flossing regularly and effectively, you can maintain a healthy smile and prevent oral health issues in the long run.

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