Apparently, it’s not the way we’ve always been told. According to news from the Oral Health Foundation, new research shows interdental cleaning, (flossing), before brushing is the best way to clean our teeth effectively.
The study indicates flossing loosens bacteria and food debris from between the teeth, which results in removing more plaque during brushing, and those that interdentally cleaned before brushing were left with a much cleaner mouth than those who did it afterwards.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes the findings also show why flossing is such an essential part of daily oral hygiene.
“While brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste is absolutely essential for a good oral health routine,” Dr. Carter said, “this study shows that interdental cleaning also has a big part to play when it comes to keeping our teeth and gums healthy.
It’s been repeatedly reported that brushing can only clean three of the five surfaces of our teeth, so cleaning between them is critical to successful care.
“The importance of looking after the health of our teeth and gums by cleaning interdentally and then brushing cannot be stressed enough,” Dr. Carter said. “Doing this alongside maintaining a balanced, low-in-sugar diet and regularly visiting the dentist will make us far less likely to encounter problems with our oral health.”
The research, which is published in the Journal of Periodontology, also found that cleaning interdentally before brushing leaves more fluoride in your mouth afterwards.
“Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects teeth against tooth decay and reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on teeth produce,” Dr Carter said.
A wide-range of options are available for interdental cleaning, including brushes that come in a variety of sizes. Anything you choose, however, needs to fit between your teeth comfortably, without much force.
Tips for interdental cleaning include:
- Break off about 18 inches of dental floss
- With the floss held tightly (or using an interdental brush), use a gentle sawing motion to guide between adjacent teeth
- Try not to snap the floss against the gums
- Curve the floss into a C shape against one tooth and gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth
- With the floss tight against the side of the tooth, gently move the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this scrubbing action to clean plaque off the adjacent tooth
- Repeat this procedure till al teeth have been cleaned
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