When should you floss?

The next question my friend asked was, ‘Should you floss before or after brushing?’ My answer to this was after and here’s why. When you brush your teeth you are removing gross (large) deposits of plaque which is the white film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth. By flossing your teeth you are finessing or refining the result; that is removing the finer deposits that your toothbrush won’t reach.

close-up of woman flossing

If you tried flossing before you brushed your teeth it is more likely that you would pull more bacteria from around your teeth to between your teeth than it would remove. It is more efficient to remove the large amount of bacteria and then concentrate on the more awkward deposits when the first task is complete.

As a tip for flossing well, wrap the floss around your middle fingers so that your forefingers and thumb make a triangle. This way the forefingers and thumb can help to support the floss as you make your way around your mouth and the floss won’t get tangled up.

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