Flossing your teeth is an incredibly simple task: you just guide a piece of dental floss between your teeth, slide it along the curves of each tooth, and repeat until you’ve cleaned between all the teeth in your mouth. And yet, many people fail to floss as often as they should. If you’re trying to step up your flossing game, you might find it helpful to review experts’ advice for flossing. For example, when should you floss?
When Should You Floss?
The American Dental Association recommends that you floss once per day. The association doesn’t, however, specify a particular time of day as being ideal: “The bottom line is that the best time to floss is the time that fits well with the individual’s schedule.”
When do you prefer to floss? Each time of day presents unique benefits:
- Morning: Some people prefer to floss in the morning because it brings them confidence as they head to work. Or, they might like flossing in the morning because they can check it off their daily to-do list bright and early.
- Afternoon: Some people prefer to floss in the afternoon because it allows them to remove food debris that might linger in the mouth after lunch. If you often eat foods that tend to get lodged between your teeth (poppyseeds, spinach, parsley, basil, cilantro, strawberries, popcorn), you might find it satisfying and stress-relieving to floss right after lunch.
- Night: Just as many people like to shower before bed, to clean off all the dirt and debris they confront throughout the day, many people prefer to floss at night to clean away all the food they consume throughout the day. They enjoy going to bed with a freshly flossed mouth. In addition, they might find it helpful to pair flossing with the rest of their nighttime routine.
Should You Brush or Floss First?
Clearly when you floss during the day doesn’t make much of a difference. The best time to floss is whenever you’re most likely to have the time to floss thoroughly. Also, it’s helpful to be consistent to create a strong flossing habit. But what about the timeline of brushing and flossing? Should you brush first or floss first?
Again, either way is acceptable. Go with whichever you prefer.
Some people prefer to floss first to dislodge the debris between their teeth before brushing everything off their teeth. Other people prefer to brush first because they want to have a somewhat clean and fresh mouth before they start working dental floss between their teeth. If you go this second route, you might like to use mouthwash afterward to rinse away any debris and bacteria that lingers after flossing.
Most dentists agree that if one method or the other is more likely to get you flossing daily, you should choose the method you prefer. However, if you’re really curious about which method is best, one study has found that it’s more effective to brush first and floss second. This method is superior when it comes to removing interdental plaque, and it also leads to greater fluoride retention.
So, when should you floss? The time of day is unimportant. What’s critical is that you find the time to floss at least once per day.
For more help with flossing, check out our blog posts How to Get into the Habit of Flossing, Types of Floss, and Reasons to Floss Your Teeth.
And if you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!