Whatever your style—flosser, string, AirFloss, WaterPik-you have heard that flossing is one of the best things you can do to maintain healthy teeth. Thankfully, we have moved past the question of why you should floss and have moved on to when… but even dentists are divided on the issue!
Removing the bits of food and debris from your teeth may feel like something of an urgent matter, so it makes sense to reach for the floss first. The particles that you’ve stirred up can be swept away by your follow-up brushing. Running the thread in between your teeth after brushing has the benefit of bringing fluoride into those hard-to-reach places. A rinsing can also flush out whatever the floss has dislodged.
Studies directly examining the sequence of brushing and flossing are surprisingly few. There is no definitive advice, so the best timing for your daily flossing should be tailored to your convenience. Are you one to rush through washing up before bed because you’re constantly exhausted at the day’s end? Are you prone to skipping any part of your routine? You may want to consider flossing first, as getting into that habit will minimize abandoning the task after brushing. Try switching up your order and see if there is any difference in results or your willingness. If you are too tired late at night, try getting a good floss in earlier in the day.
Always remember that the two most important parts of your flossing habit are actually doing it and doing it right!