Should I brush first or floss first?” This question is asked everyday in every dental practice. If you are asking this, congratulations! You’ve already won. Because more than likely, you are doing both, which is what really counts. But what is the optimal sequence to get the best out of your daily smile chores – Brushing first or flossing first?

The arguments:

Brush First

Brushing first breaks up plaque on the teeth. Flossing afterwards will help remove this plaque while getting residual fluoride, left over from brushing, into the spaces between the teeth that brushing alone can’t reach.

Floss First

Flossing first will break up food particles in your teeth that can then be brush away. Fluoride can then reach the areas of your teeth that were previously blocked. Plus, flossing first gets it out of the way. Most people have been raised with the “Brush your teeth, then go to bed” mentality. Meaning, brushing your teeth is the last thing you do before you go to sleep. Flossing before brushing will keep you from skipping this important procedure.


It’s a bit of a “chicken or the egg” conundrum. Most dentists agree: it really doesn’t matter which comes first. So see what best fits you and your lifestyle. Try flossing first for one week, then try brushing first for one week. See what feels best for you, your schedule and your teeth. As long as you are doing both, you’ll get good results. Mix in a couple of visits to your dentist each year and your smile will thank you!