Which Comes First — Brushing or Flossing?

Which Comes First — Brushing or Flossing?

Which Comes First — Brushing or Flossing?

It’s time to puzzle this out because people are always wondering about which comes first: brushing or flossing. Many say that brushing before flossing is the proper way of cleaning the teeth, while others argue that flossing before brushing makes the teeth healthier.

Truth is, either way is correct. The best way to remove decay-causing plaque and obtain the best oral health is through thorough cleaning, and not by the sequence between brushing and flossing, as long as you’re brushing properly.

So the correct question should  be:

How does one thoroughly clean his/her teeth using a toothbrush and floss?



First, choose a toothbrush that is comfortable both in your hand and in your mouth, and brush twice a day for at least two minutes. Remember to Place the toothbrush against your gums at a 45-degree angle. Then, brush the outer tooth surfaces by moving the brush back and forth in a gentle manner, with tooth-wide strokes. Then, brush the back tooth surfaces and the chewing surfaces of the teeth, including the back (palate- or tongue-side) surfaces of the front teeth. Make sure that you also brush your tongue in order to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath.

Brushing Tip: Brush your teeth first thing in the morning and before bedtime, and remember to change your toothbrush every 3 months.



Brushing your teeth is best paired with flossing because these two work together to achieve better oral health care. Your toothbrush can’t completely remove the plaque from your teeth so you need the help of floss. The floss cleans between the teeth, thus removing all remaining debris stuck inside. It cleans the part beyond the reach of your toothbrush.

From your floss dispenser, pull 18-24 inches of dental floss, and then wrap its ends around your index and middle fingers. Hold it tightly around each tooth, forming a C shape. Next, move the floss back and forth in a push-pull motion and also up and down in between each tooth.

Flossing Tip: Always floss your teeth before bed time.

Those who have difficulty using floss are recommended to use interdental cleaners. They come in the form of special brushes, picks or sticks. If you decide to use interdental cleaners, first ask your dentist about the proper way to use them because these aids may injure your gums if not used properly.

General tip: Your habits also make a big impact to your overall oral health. Visit your dentist every six months for a dental check- up and professional cleaning in order to keep your teeth strong and clean.


How can you tell if you’re doing a thorough cleaning?

You’ll notice the plaque that was not removed because you may notice spots that need additional cleaning. Because of this, your dentist may advise the use of plaque disclosing tablets that can be bought over-the-counter at pharmacies or  at stores that sell oral hygiene products. These plaque-disclosing tablets are chewed after cleaning your mouth, leaving temporary pink marks on the areas that need more cleaning.

So if you’re still wondering which comes first between brushing and flossing, stop worrying about that. Just clean your teeth thoroughly!