Why You’ve Been Flossing Wrong All Along: Start Flossing Before Brushing Your Teeth!

Dental hygiene advice can be difficult to navigate, especially when new tips contradict long-held beliefs. A recent trend on TikTok suggests flossing before brushing teeth, which goes against the traditional recommendation of flossing after brushing. The American Dental Association (ADA) encourages daily flossing but does not specify when to do it. However, a 2018 study showed that flossing before brushing reduced plaque significantly more and resulted in higher fluoride concentrations in the mouth. Flossing before brushing can help loosen plaque and stuck food residue between teeth, preventing tartar buildup. Sensodyne recommends flossing first to flush out more particles from hard-to-reach spaces while retaining more fluoride. But, according to Dr. Edmond Hewlett, a consumer advisor for the ADA and professor at UCLA School of Dentistry, as long as you floss once a day, it doesn’t matter when you do it.

Dr. Lenga, a periodontist in Toronto, recommends the following tips for proper flossing: never reuse a strand of dental floss, move to a clean segment for each tooth, gently wiggle the floss until it reaches the gum line, and use a C-shaped motion between teeth. Avoid aggressive flossing or using non-dental objects like knives, sharp cards, or safety pins. If string floss is difficult to use, try a water flosser like the Waterpik.


Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for tooth and gum health, as well as for the health and longevity of dental implants. Flossing helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. The ADA recommends brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes and using fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque and food debris. It is also important to visit a dentist or periodontist regularly for cleanings and checkups.


Flossing is an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene. While it may not matter when you floss, some evidence suggests that flossing before brushing may provide better results. Regardless of when you floss, it is important to do it daily and follow proper techniques to ensure optimal tooth and gum health. Consulting with a dental professional like Dr. Lenga in Toronto can help provide more personalized recommendations for maintaining optimal oral hygiene.