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Floss first or last?? This is actually an important question with an easy answer!

We all know that flossing is important and that we shouldn’t wait until right before our next dentist appointment to begin flossing again, RIGHT? But one question comes up a good bit: Is it better to floss before or after you brush your teeth?

So, because dentists needed proof of what they pretty much already knew, a new study published in July 2018 in the Journal of Periodontology “The Effect of Toothbrushing and Flossing Sequence on Interdental Plaque Reduction and Fluoride Retention: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial” (whew, that is a title!) tackles this idea. (

Let’s skip to the punchline: The study found what Dr. Sable has been saying to his patients since the time of the cavemen & cavewomen – well, maybe not quite that long… Flossing before you brush your teeth is more effective than flossing after you brush! (But “pretend” flossing does not count at all!)

So, for a few details…the study asked 25 participants to brush their teeth first and then floss. In the second phase, the subjects flossed first and then brushed. The conclusion (which the study write-up listed as quite surprising, but we are more surprised that they are surprised…) is that the research found that individuals who flossed first has significantly cleaner teeth than those who did the opposite. The primary reason is that since flossing is effective in dislodging debris and crud (their word, not ours – yuck) nestled between the teeth, brushing and rinsing

soon after helps clear out the particles and makes the mouth cleaner.

But as if you can hear Dr. Sable whispering in your ear, it is important to note that an effective home oral care routine includes both daily brushing and flossing to keep teeth clean. So, go ahead and give it a try!

We are off to look for a study about the comparison between using floss and a Waterpik! We can’t wait to tell you what we find! What do you think we will find? We can do our own official study! Email our office manager, Sandy Palermino at