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When to brush and floss: The ideal sequence for your dental regimen

"Brushing and flossing are the foundation of mouth health and dental hygiene. Dental hygiene helps to prevent cavities and gum diseases, fights bad breath, and facilitates a healthy set of pearly whites. A dental hygiene routine can break or create the message that your smile sends."

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Flossing before brushing is important as it removes and lifts food and plaque between the teeth. Brushing removes food debris and plaque from the back and front surfaces of the teeth, but it cannot reach deep between teeth to remove it all; thus, flossing is essential for keeping the mouth as clean as possible. It is important to brush the teeth before breakfast to prevent tooth erosion and last at night to remove harmful plaque and food debris buildup through the night.

Read also>>> Daily habits to improve your oral health


Flossing is a vital oral hygiene habit that dislodges and cleans food stuck in between the teeth. It prevents plaque from building up, which may contribute to dental problems such as gum diseases and cavities. Many people brush their teeth daily, but not everyone flosses. Flossing correctly is important, and improper flossing may potentially damage the gums and teeth. Follow these steps to floss correctly.

  • Hold the most of the floss with the middle finger, about 18 to 24 inches of floss, and leave about 1-2 inches of the floss for the teeth.

  • Hold the floss tight with the index fingers and thumbs.

  • Put the dental floss between the teeth.

  • Gently glide the floss up and down, rubbing against the sides of the teeth.

  • To avoid bruises or scratches on the gums, avoid gridding the floss.

  • Do the steps as you move from one tooth to the next, using a new or clean section of floss.

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When to floss

Flossing at the right time contributes to good dental hygiene and overall oral health. When you start by brushing the teeth first and then flossing afterwards, the food particles and plaque may remain in the mouth until the next time you brush, facilitating the accumulation of plaque and causing tooth decay. It is recommended to floss at least once a day, while brushing twice a day. You can floss whenever it is most convenient for you; some people prefer to floss before bedtime so that they can sleep with a clean mouth, while others prefer to start the day with flossing.

Various types of flossing include:

  • Super floss

  • Standard floss

  • Dental tape

Why is it important to floss?

A toothbrush can’t remove the plaque (sticky films containing bacteria) between the teeth, but flossing cleans away the plaque. Taking out the plaque and the bacteria that feed on the remaining food particles and sugar that remain after eating helps reduce the amount of acid released by the bacteria, which can eat away at the enamel, resulting in fewer cavities. Uncleaned plaque eventually forms tartar on the gum line and causes gum disease and gingivitis. Consider flossing regularly to avoid the accumulation of food particles, which may facilitate bacterial growth that may negatively affect dental health.



Brushing is vital in preventing dental tooth decay that can result in a dental cavity, which is associated with a hole in the teeth, leading to tooth loss. It also prevents the bad breath that may discourage family, colleagues, and friends from forming deeper interpersonal relationships with you. Consider brushing after flossing to get rid of all the plaque in the mouth. Avoid rinsing the mouth immediately after brushing as it might wash away all the concentrated fluoride, reducing its preventive effects.

How to brush the teeth

  • Clean all of the surfaces of the teeth with a soft, medium-bristled brush.

  • Hold the toothbrush at an angle of 45 degrees and smoothly move the brush forward and backward.

  • The cleaning should take about 2 minutes.

  • Ensure that the toothbrush reaches all parts of the teeth.

  • Start by brushing the inside surface of the teeth, the chewing surface (at the edge), and the outer part of the teeth.

  • Rinse after about 20 or 30 minutes to get rid of plaque that may have stuck during the brushing process.

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Why you should not rinse immediately after brushing

Rinsing the mouth after brushing may wash away fluoride. Fluoride is a vital mineral added to various dental products and is essential to strengthening teeth and preventing tooth decay. Consider fighting the urge to rinse the teeth after brushing for better dental hygiene.

When to brush your teeth

It is recommended to brush the teeth twice a day for 2 minutes, but it is not exactly clear when to brush the teeth. A proper brushing routine is vital to dental health and promotes good oral hygiene. Brushing before eating breakfast is more beneficial for the overall health and enamel of the teeth. This is because the plaque that causes bacteria in the mouth multiplies when you sleep, which facilitates "morning breath" and "mossy." Brushing with fluoride toothpaste aids in the removal of bacteria and plaque. It also protects the enamel against acid in the mouth.


Brushing before breakfast also boosts the production of saliva, which plays a vital role in killing bacteria naturally and breaking down food. Consider brushing your teeth the last thing you do before going to bed. Brushing correctly is essential for eliminating the bacteria and limiting the accumulation of plaque. It also limits the chances of tooth decay and gum disease by promoting a healthy lifestyle and strong immune system.

When to see a dentist

You should see the dentist whenever you suspect any problem with your dental health, and for routine tooth cleaning. Whenever you experience signs such as sensitivity to cold and heat, tooth pain, receding gum, persistent bad breath, gum bleeding when brushing or flossing, and swollen red gums, you should seek a medical checkup.

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Brushing and flossing

Flossing and brushing are excellent ways to clean the teeth, prevents cavities, and removal of dental plaque. The sequence of flossing then brushing is vital as it removes all the plaque causing bacteria and remaining food particles from the mouth. As a result, there is a lower risk of gum disease, tooth cavities, and less dental plaque in the mouth. Gum disease occurs as a result of improper dental hygiene such as improper flossing, not brushing, and skipping the dental cleaning routine. Symptoms of periodontal diseases include:

  • Swollen, red tender gums

  • Loose teeth

  • Bleeding gums

  • Bad breath


Other dental hygiene tips to promote healthy teeth include:

Avoid using toothpicks: Using toothpicks may cause infections and damage to your gums. Consider using floss rather than toothpicks to remove the remaining food in between the teeth.

Try fluoride: Fluoride mouthwash and toothpaste are vital for strengthening of the tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.

Visit a dentist: Consider a dental cleaning at least once or twice a year in your dental routine.

Brush your tongue: It facilitates good dental hygiene by removing bacteria and bad breath

To be gentle: Avoid being aggressive when brushing and flossing. Excessive flossing may cause bleeding gums, while aggressive brushing may damage the tooth enamel.


All dental problems are preventable. The key is practicing a good dental care routine and a sequence of cleaning the teeth. These involve regular brushing, flossing, and use of mouthwash at the right time. Oral health has more than just fresh breath, but also prevents gum diseases, cavities, and facilitates overall health.

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