Should you floss before or after brushing?
Personal hygiene is very important to the human body and as a result of that, dental hygiene should not be left out. Would you like to see people covering their nose while you talk to them all because you have a bad breath. No, you definitely would not want that so, you have to consider dental hygiene to be very essential.
Apart from fighting bad breath, good dental hygiene also helps to prevent gum disease, cavities as well as keeping your teeth white and clean. It is popularly known that brushing is part of a dental hygiene practice but so many people tend to leave out flossing which is also important, they take it as less important while others do not even know about it.
Flossing is done by the use of a dental floss. A dental floss is a tiny strand used for interdental cleaning. It helps to reach a toothbrush cannot reach and to remove what a toothbrush is not able to remove from the teeth. Flossing cleans your teeth thoroughly by removing food debris and other bacteria or micro organisms which turn into plaque in between your teeth if not take out.
These plaque can gradually lead to tooth decay or tooth discoloration. The American Dental Association (ADA) claims that up to 80% of plaque can be removed by flossing. Your toothbrush does a good work of cleaning on-surface plaque and food debris but it cannot get into the tiny gaps between your teeth to remove them all.
It is as easy as saying that flossing complements brushing and brushing also complements flossing. I actually recommend that you do both but in the right order of flossing before brushing. In this article, you would get to know why it is important you floss first before you brush.
TYPES OF DENTAL FLOSS
There are basically three (3) major types of dental floss;
1. Common Dental Tape
This type of dental floss is broad and flat in shape. Because of their broad nature, they are easier to use if you have gaps or spaces in between your teeth.
2. Standard Dental Floss
This type of dental floss is a tiny strand that can fit well between your teeth. Which ever you want to use depends on you but your teeth needs to be closer to each other to use this type of floss.
This type of floss comes in different kinds which includes;
- Waxed dental floss
- Un-waxed dental floss
- Flavored dental floss
- Un-flavored dental floss
3. Super Dental Floss
This type of dental floss has three (3) parts which includes;
- A stiffened end which is used to floss underneath appliances.
- A spongy floss which is used to clean appliances.
- A regular floss which is used to eliminate plaque underneath your gum line.
The appliances stated above are mostly braces and bridges It can also be used by people with gab teeth.
4. Air Flosser
This type of dental floss makes use of air pressure to push out food debris that are hiding in between the teeth.
5. Water Flosser
This type of dental floss makes use of water pressure to flush out food debris that are hiding in between the teeth.
REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD FLOSS BEFORE BRUSHING
A lot of people do more of brushing and do not consider flossing. Now, these are the reasons why it is advised that you floss before you brush. Dental floss helps to remove hidden plaque or food debris in between your teeth making it easy to be flushed out completely when you brush and rinse your mouth. The fluoride contained in toothpaste helps to remove this interdental particles as far as they have been made visible by a dental floss. It also helps to retain more fluoride between your teeth.
HOW TO USE A DENTAL FLOSS
If you are currently thinking about using a dental floss and it is probably your first time and you literally do not know how to use it,
Here are some steps to follow;
- Cut out about 15 to 20 inches of the dental floss.
- Wind about 8 to 9 inches around your middle finger of both hands leaving only about 1 to 3 inches of the dental floss for your teeth.
- Hold the dental floss tight using your thumb and index finger of both hands.
- Put the dental floss in between your teeth (two teeth at a time).
- Move the dental floss softly up and down, against the sides of each tooth.
- As the floss approaches your gum, curve the floss to form a C shape. Avoid moving the dental floss into your gums.
- Repeat this steps from tooth to tooth but do not use the same floss for all teeth.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU FLOSS?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it is recommended that you clean between your teeth using a floss once a day and brush at least twice a day.
BENEFITS OF FLOSSING
You are actually aware that not every food you eat will be flushed down when you swallow or drink liquid right? Some hang up there in between your teeth. With food debris up there, it does not make your teeth and gum look good and healthy. This is why you need to floss.
Below are more benefits of flossing;
1. It Helps To Prevent Bad Breath
Just the same way sour food smells awful because of the bacteria that has formed on it over time, food debris that has been left between your teeth for a long time contains bacteria that makes your mouth smell which is known as bad breath. Flossing regularly helps to prevent bad breath by removing this food debris that may decay to produce bacteria and also gives you a good breath.
2. It Helps To Alleviate Interdental Plaques
Although plaques are difficult to see because it is a colorless sticky substance that lies on, around and in between your teeth, it can really affect your dental health. It is necessary you floss regularly to alleviate interdental plaque. If not done, plaque can easily harden into what is called tartar on, around and in between your teeth also at your gum line. You do not want to go through the sting it produces.
3. It Helps To Prevent The Build Up Of Cavities
Cavity is mostly caused by a tooth decay which forms from a prolonged and unremoved interdental plaques. It is a soft hole area in the teeth which is called enamel.
When you floss regularly, you prevent the build up of plaques and reduce the chances of having a tooth decay thereby preventing the building up of cavity.
4. It Helps To Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection in the mouth that damages the gum tissues and bones in the teeth. It is also known as periodontal disease. It starts from gingivitis cause by the build up of plaques. It is mostly known to cause inflammation or bleeding around the gums. If gingivitis is not taken care of or treated, the plaque slowly has its way through the gum tissue and infects them leading to periodontal disease. To prevent this from occurring, you need to floss once everyday and complement with brushing twice a day.
5. It Also Helps Your Heart Health
According to the American Heart Association, the connection between the oral (dental) health and the heart health may have more to do with a link between the health of the mouth and the overall health of your body. Dental hygiene like flossing and brushing down not only help you dental health. It also helps your heart health.
CAN YOU FLOSS WITH BRACES?
Yes, you can floss with braces. In this case, you will either use waxed floss, air floss or water floss. Also, make sure your dental floss strand passes the braces before moving to avoid interruption of either you floss or the braces. While flossing the part above the brace, you make a U shape curve not a C shape curve with the floss for the down part, you floss in a n shape curve. For further questions or doubt, please contact a dentist.
DO I NEED TO VISIT A DENTIST?
You do not need to visit a dentist to do a dental floss. Just like brushing your teeth, you can floss your teeth on your own.
The only reason you should visit your dentist is if you have the following while undergoing a regular flossing;
- A loosed tooth
- Bleeding gum
- Swollen gum
- Bad breath still persist
- Tooth ache, etc.
Knowing the right way to floss and flossing regularly is very essential for your dental health. Flossing helps to remove food debris, interdental plaque and other bacteria between the teeth. It prevents some dental health problems like gum disease. Flossing also makes brushing perfect, it removes every food debris etc. as earlier said and then brushing helps to complement by removing it all out and leaving fluorine in your teeth. At such flossing should be done before brushing.