Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Brushing and Flossing: Does Order Matter?

By: | Sunday, September 30th, 2018 | General Dentistry

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

 Dental Services BURKE, VA Most of us are well aware that we should be brushing and flossing our teeth every day. What may not be quite so clear is which task should come first. Here, we discuss the points of interest in this conversation.

The Debate

Every conversation has two sides. When talking about the order in which brushing and flossing take place, there is one side that states that brushing is what cleans the teeth of most of the plaque that has accumulated, even in areas that are semi-difficult to reach. Another side argues that flossing loosens or removes plaque from the gum line and in between teeth, so should be done first. This side also states that, by flossing first, the toothbrush bristles and toothpaste have more cleaning action on teeth.

The Details of Oral Care

Teeth need to be cleaned every single day. Brushing does not need to exceed twice-a-day sessions; usually morning and night. Flossing is a once-a-day task but is no less vital to oral health than brushing. If you don’t floss for even a few days, plaque forms where you can’t see it, and it begins to harden. Hardened plaque, called tartar, can’t be flossed away. It will stay on enamel until removed by the dentist. Furthermore, forgetting to loss paves the way to bad breath.

Another important detail of oral care is that the back of the tongue needs to be cleaned. However, it isn’t ideal to brush the back of the tongue with your toothbrush. Doing so collects bacteria from the tongue and leaves it on the instrument you use to clean your teeth. Basically, brushing your tongue just creates a cycle for bacteria. A better idea is to get a tongue scraper from a pharmacy or drug store and gently run it from the back of the tongue to the front.

Benefits of Brushing and Flossing

There is a lot of information online about the dangers of gum disease. The primary advantages of daily brushing and flossing are that these activities significantly reduce your chance of getting cavities or infected pulp (which needs a root canal). Regular care also inhibits bacteria from invading the gums and causing hidden infection. It isn’t just gum disease and cavities that can be prevented with proper oral care. Studies suggest that a healthy mouth also supports a healthy body that has a lower risk of stroke, chronic health conditions, heart disease, and even dementia.

So what’s the answer to the initial question? The answer is, it doesn’t matter whether you brush or floss first. Just remember to do both every day. Your Burke dentist can support your daily oral care with thorough exams and professional cleanings. Call (703)-935-2879 to schedule a visit with us.



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