4 minute read

Should You Brush or Floss First?

Should my child brush or floss first is a common question we hear from parents. But, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), flossing before brushing seems to be the perfect sequence for the most thorough removal of debris and dental plaque. So let’s learn about the benefits. 

The Benefits of Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth

Yes, brushing your teeth is an excellent way to clean your teeth, remove dental plaque, and prevent cavities. But brushing and flossing together is a perfect method to maintain healthy teeth and avoid gum disease.

Dental flossing lifts and removes plaque and food from in between your child’s teeth. Teeth brushing also removes plaque and food debris, but the toothbrush’s bristles do not reach deep between teeth to remove all trash. Flossing keeps your child’s mouth as clean as possible.

As a parent, you spend so much time teaching and training your child throughout the day, and when it’s time to get ready for bed, it’s easy to skip the flossing of their teeth. Adding the extra step of flossing can be difficult, but’s it’s vital to create a nighttime ritual that builds a healthy routine for your child. It’s essential to instruct children that brushing teeth and flossing after dinner or before bed is a necessary habit to build. Here are a few key points to remember as you figure out if you should brush or floss first?

Removing Food Particles That Have Collected

On a typical day, your child likely had not brushed their teeth since before they left for school. They’ve had lunch, dinner, and numerous snacks during their day. This means food particles have embedded themselves into their teeth and gums. Without brushing and flossing, these particles can cause long-term problems, like inflammation, infection, and halitosis.

Flossing and Brushing Prevents The Buildup Of Plaque

When your child skips flossing and brushing before bed, the bacteria, sugars, and food deposits fester in their mouth overnight. This residue can become plaque, which develops on teeth that aren’t cleaned properly. Over time, plaque can harden and form into tartar, which can only be cleaned with tools found at the dentist’s office. The more your child forgets to brush at night, the more tartar buildup will accumulate. This process starts from simply neglecting to brush your teeth after dinner or before bed.

Why is it Better to Floss Before Brushing?

The problem with brushing first and then flossing s that any food, plaque, and bacteria released by flossing from in between your teeth remains in your mouth until the next time you brush. Flipping the sequence from flossing first and then brushing will remove the released particles from the mouth. As a result, there’s a less dental plaque in your mouth, and you’ll have a lower risk of developing gum disease.

Flossing and Brushing Prevents Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a mouth infection that destroys the soft tissue and bones that support your teeth. Gum disease occurs when there are too many bacteria on the surface of the teeth. Signs of gum disease include bad breath, swollen, red, tender gums, loose teeth, and bleeding gums.

Treating Periodontal Disease 

If your child shows any signs of gum disease, don’t worry; there are various treatments to prevent gum disease from getting worse. If the condition is left untreated, the underlying bone around the teeth may dissolve, which means the bone will no longer hold the teeth in place. Regular cleanings by a dentist can help fight gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. Your child will also need to brush and floss daily. Another option is a deep cleaning which can help remove the plaque and tartar under the gum and infected tissue in the early stages of the disease. 

Should You Brush or Floss First? Important Reminders

First, remember to brush your child’s teeth for at least two minutes. Make sure your child learns that brushing their teeth at least twice within 24 hours is extremely important. Make sure they know that every time they skip brushing their teeth, they encourage the buildup of bacteria that would’ve been destroyed with an easy, two-minute brush. Remember, plaque typically hardens on the teeth within 24 to 36 hours. However, daily flossing and brushing will help prevent plaque from setting on their teeth.