Brush, Floss, And Mouthwash… Which Order Is Best?

brush floss mouthwash order
stevepb / Pixabay

You know the holy trinity of dental hygiene. You need to brush, floss, and use mouthwash daily for best results, bust is there an order for best results? Do you brush or use mouthwash first? Do you floss before or after brushing? Is ‘brush, floss, rinse’ graven in stone(or rather, tooth enamel?). In order to clear things up we’ve gone and done a bit of research so that we can give you the scoop on this subject.

The importance of structure

Structure is good for us. Having a morning routine in which we reliably do things in a particular order helps to set the tone for an orderly day. So does it really make a difference if you change the orders around in your morning dental hygiene sequence? Let’s examine this.

Mouthwash before or after brushing?

If you really hate morning breath then perhaps the idea of going with the mouthwash first is attractive. Is it a good idea? Well, possibly not so much. You see, the reason that you use mouthwash is in order to freshen your breath and in order to introduce fluoride to your tooth enamel in the hopes of strengthening it. By using mouthwash first, you end up losing most of its effects as the brushing that follows, as well as the subsequent rinsing, will minimize the beneficial effects of the fluoride. Following this by flossing means that you will loosen up particles between the teeth and then, since you are not using mouthwash again, these areas do not receive a fluoride treatment. Whether you brush or floss first after using mouthwash, we’ll go ahead and say that this is probably going to be the least desirable of combinations due to the minimizing of fluoridization.

Fine, what about brushing, flossing, and then mouthwash?

This is the standard sequence, beloved by most, and followed generally every morning after waking up and each evening before retiring to bed. So, is this the best? Well, that is going to depend a lot on you. The problem with this combination is that if you are in a hurry in the morning that it is very easy to floss with less than the usual gusto. Flossing takes a little time but it is very important as those pesky food particles can get trapped and cause small cavities on the sides of your teeth. Much harder to repair, these are a nuisance that you can avoid if you always take time with your flossing. That said, is this the ideal sequence? Well, as long as you are patient. The brushing will do its job to clean the enamel, the flossing will remove the particles from between your teeth, and then the mouthwash will sweeten up your breath and strengthen all of your teeth with fluoride. It’s a winning combination, but not the one that we would choose and we will tell you why.

So flossing, then brushing, and then using the mouthwash is best?

floss before or after brushing
hamiltonjch / Pixabay

We’re going to go with a resounding ‘yes’ on this one. The reason for this is that when you make the effort to slowly floss first it no ensures that the habit of proper flossing becomes more ingrained by being the first thing that you do every morning. You are burning neural pathways in your mind as to the proper way to do it and this can stick with you for a lifetime. Some also find that it helps them to focus by applying attention to detail immediately after rising.

So, how does this scenario play out?

Fair enough, as we have outlined the others. First you get up in the morning and begin meticulously flossing your teeth, giving individual attention to each. This loosens up the food particles which you will rinse away and then follow up with a vigorous brushing of your tooth enamel. After this you rinse away the toothpaste and sweeten up your breath with the mouthwash, flooding your teeth with minty and delicious fluoride. Follow it up with visits to your dentist, preferably every 3 to 6 months, and you are on your way to well-nigh perfect dental hygiene.

“Be sure to hold your brush at a 45 degree angle.”

The verdict

Flossing, brushing, and then rinsing with mouthwash is the winning combination in our opinions. That said, as you know the purpose of each step, you can always mix and match as long as each one is met. It might mean repeating steps but it’s your morning and your own style, so do what you will with it.

brush or mouthwash first
jarmoluk / Pixabay

In closing : Some pro tips on cleaning

We’ve mentioned the proper order of things but we thought it might be nice to include some general tips to ensure that you are getting the most out of your cleanings. With that said, here are some tips on the categories of Flossing, Brushing, and Mouthwash-rinsing.

  1. Flossing
  • Take your time. Pay attention to every tooth. One by one be sure to floss between them all. This is very important to your hygiene so don’t skimp on your time.
  • Loop the floss around your teeth and be sure to pull down gently to floss at the gumline. This helps to fight gingivitis, as particles can get stuck down here and begin causing problems with the gumline.
  1. Brushing
  • Be sure to hold your brush at a 45 degree angle in order to maximize your brushing efficiency. Brush with a little pressure but remember that you are scrubbing your teeth and not trying to abrade them.
  1. Rinsing with Mouthwash
  • Mouthwash is simple, just pour the measured amount in your cup, gargle for a few seconds, and rinse by swishing it between your cheeks for 30-60 seconds. Spit it out when you are done and rinse with a little water and you are good to go!

Now you are ready!

You wanted to know if you should use mouthwash, floss, or brush your teeth first. Well, now you know! Use this information to your advantage and keep those pearly whites sparkling!