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Is Flossing More Important Than Brushing?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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Flossing and brushing are important parts of an good oral hygiene regimen. Frequent brushing and flossing will make your teeth healthier and stronger by eradicating bacteria which cause tooth decay, as well as removing particles of food which could attract tooth decay. Both flossing and brushing are equally important to dental hygiene, with most dentists recommending that people floss every time they brush, or at least once a day.

Your teeth should be brushed at least twice a day, or after every meal. Your dentist can instruct you in proper tooth brushing techniques, which are designed to clean all of your teeth. A number of companies make tooth brushing products which are designed to assist consumers with their brushing, including angled toothbrushes and toothbrushes which use ultrasound technology. One important tip is to be sure to replace your toothbrush on a regular basis.

Flossing gets into areas which a toothbrush cannot reach. Dental floss is more flexible, and can be used to get down to the gum line in between the teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that teeth should be flossed with 18 inches (45 centimeters) of dental floss. This allows the flosser to use a clean section of dental floss on each tooth.

Flossing should be done with care, because the gums can be cut by aggressive flossing. Press the dental floss gently along the side of each tooth and move it back and forth, as well as up and down, to dislodge embedded material. When you are finished, move to a clean section of floss and start on the next tooth.

Brushing and flossing reduce the risk of gum disease and other related health problems. In addition to making your breath smell better, good oral hygiene will make you feel better. Taking good care of your teeth can also reduce discolorations caused by foods and beverages. It will also reduce the risk of developing a cavity, which is a painful tooth infection that requires intervention by a dentist.

Diseases of the mouth and gums are referred to as periodontal diseases, because they are around (perio) the teeth (dontal). Periodontal diseases can cause painful gum infections at a minor level, and more systemic health problems including heart disease in other instances. Systemic infection is caused by bacteria in the gums moving through the rest of the bloodstream.

Because oral health is such an important part of overall health, it is crucial to take good care of your teeth. In addition to brushing and flossing daily, regular visits to a dentist are recommended. A dentist can clean your teeth more thoroughly with professional equipment, as well as identify areas of the mouth which need more careful monitoring or attention.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon117350 — On Oct 10, 2010

I was looking for a non-biased discussion of whether the enamel is at its softest after a meal, and while the enamel is soft, it's not a good time to brush.

By sputnik — On Apr 02, 2008

Brushing with a soft bristle brush, as opposed to hard bristle brush is better for teeth and gums. It protects tooth enamel and gums while it removes food particles.

It removes plaque equally well as harsher brushing would, without potential damage.

Another way to protect and keep teeth healthy is eating yogurt. It seems that the good bacteria in yogurt protect teeth and gums, just as they are helpful in the stomach.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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