SHOULD YOU FLOSS BEFORE OR AFTER BRUSHING TEETH?
For all of you water flosser owners out there, you may know clearly how to operate it, clean it, etc. but when to use it can be a big question mark for most and the answer may be different for each individual. It is a very common question to ask when is the best time to floss? Is it better to use a Waterpik before or after brushing? How many times per day? In this article we will explain the order of brushing and flossing, the most appropriate time to floss your teeth and how often.
DOES IT MATTER WHEN YOU USE A WATER FLOSSER?
The answer to this question may vary depending on who you ask. Based on what we know about flossing, our answer to that question is yes. It does matter when you use your water flosser. It matters because if you've invested in a water flosser, and your goal is to achieve effective results then it's in your best interest to know the optimal times to use it. And yes there are optimal times to use your oral irrigator which we will explain in the next question.
DO YOU FLOSS OR BRUSH FIRST?
We believe that the best time to use your water flosser or string floss is before brushing your teeth, preferably before bed time. Here's why:
When you floss before brushing, this enhances the effectiveness of both brushing and the toothpaste itself. If you can remove a large amount of debris/plaque in the mouth to begin with, this will make the job easier for the toothbrush and therefore more effective.
Most people would put the importance of brushing teeth above the importance of flossing, and with good reason. But flossing is still a very important job. Which is why it's beneficial to begin with water flossing, as getting it out of the way first will increase the chances that a patient actually does floss. Compliance is improved greatly by beginning with flossing and finishing with brushing teeth.
Not to mention that when patients see the debris and food being removed as they are using their water flosser, this increases the motivation to keep it up. They can see the results for themselves.
That being said, it is not a bad thing to floss after brushing. If you desire to floss after brushing and that works for you, then go ahead. It is still effective and great for your oral health.
WHEN TO FLOSS: MORNING OR NIGHT?
Usually the longest period of time we go without eating or drinking is through the night when we are getting our rest. So it would make sense to make sure our mouth is clean before hitting the sack for some zzz.
If plaque is not removed before bed, it starts to harden and calcify on your teeth and can only be removed by a hygienist at that point. Therefore, we think it is more effective to floss at night after you've eaten your last meal.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU FLOSS YOUR TEETH?
We would by no means want someone to feel pressured to water floss their teeth more than is necessary. The recommendation given by the American Dental Association is to floss at least once per day. This would apply to flossing in general, whether it be manual or water flossing. If you floss more then once daily, good on you.
My personal routine is to brush twice per day, and floss once per day. Flossing plays an important part in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. It is effective in removing plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease and it gets to those areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush.
SHOULD YOU BRUSH AND FLOSS BEFORE OR AFTER MOUTHWASH?
The answer to this question can depend on the type of mouthwash or toothpaste you decide to use. If your mouthwash contains fluoride, it is suitable to rinse directly after flossing and brushing your teeth. It will leave your mouth clean and fresh and allows the fluoride more time to protect the teeth. If you use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, you want to avoid rinsing it off with a non-fluoride mouthwash directly after brushing. Many seem to agree that rinsing should be the final step, however not everyone prefers to do so and as long as these 3 methods of oral cleansing are being used properly, you are doing great.
To answer the question 'Do you floss before or after brushing?' in our opinion, here is the order:
- Floss first
- Brush your teeth second
It is important to floss at least once per day, preferably before brushing your teeth and before bedtime. Hopefully in this article we have cleared up any confusion and helped you to understand why. If you're already doing so, keep up the good work! If you want to look at some Waterpiks on the market, check it out here.
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