Do you floss or brush first? It turns out either way is the right way – if you do it right! The ADA states either way is completely acceptable. The most important thing about brushing and flossing is that you brush thoroughly twice a day for two minutes, and that you floss once daily. It’s just a personal preference whether you floss first to make sure material between teeth is out of the mouth before you brush, or you prefer to clean the entire mouth with brushing before focusing between the teeth.
Dr. Olsen believes there are only minor differences between the sequences. If you floss first – it ideally removes debris providing a clean way for the fluoride in toothpaste to contact your teeth, while brushing first gets the large debris out of the way to allow flossing to get the more stubborn food particles.
If you want to go the extra mile, use mouthwash before brushing and flossing (or flossing and brushing). There are certain mouthwashes that can reduce bacteria and freshen breath, but they don’t excuse you from the whole hygiene routine. Rinsing before brushing can help to remove big debris in the mouth, however, rinsing with mouthwash is not a replacement for thorough brushing and flossing.
Happy Brushing and Flossing (or Flossing and Brushing)!