Which should be done first, flossing or brushing? This question has been a dividing force among dental hygienists across the world since forever now. A poll done by the American Dental Association found that 53% of Americans prefer to brush first and 47% prefer to floss first.
This age-old dilemma has given rise to 3 schools of thought among dentists, each with compelling evidence to follow their way of dental hygiene.
“Let’s face human nature. If you’re going to skip one, which one will you skip?” asked Dr. Edmond R. Hewlett, a spokesperson for the ADA and a professor at UCLA. According to Dr. Edmond, if you choose to brush first then chances are you’re going to skip on flossing, therefore, it is better to floss first so that the psychological factor is eliminated from the equation completely.
One more argument from this side of the spectrum (and perhaps a more convincing one) is that flossing first exposes any minute plaque particles and food debris which you can then remove easily by brushing. Flossing will break down the defenses of these harmful particles which you can then attack with toothpaste by brushing.
At the other side of the spectrum we have dentists who recommend brushing first, then flossing before you rinse. By brushing first you will leave some fluoride in your mouth, which we all know is nature’s cavity fighter hence a popular ingredient in modern toothpaste. Flossing after you brush will make sure the toothpaste goes in between the small spaces of your teeth, thoroughly cleaning your oral cavity of decay-causing plaque.
Doesn’t Matter What You Do First
In the middle of the spectrum (or perhaps completely out of it) are those dentists who claim that it doesn’t matter which you do first. The sequence makes no difference as long as you’re flossing and brushing in a proper manner since most people tend to only brush and neglect to floss completely. In a recent survey, it was found that only 70% of Americans brush twice a day but only 40% floss once daily. According to the ADA, “Either way is acceptable as long as you do a thorough job.”
To sum it all up, the decision is entirely up to you whether you want to floss first or brush first. All’s well as long as you’re doing both on a daily basis.
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