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Floss First

Floss First

Some time ago I wrote a column regarding the benefits of brushing the inside of your bottom teeth first.  The rationale for this was based on the results of a study that showed that people spent the most time brushing the surface that they start with coupled with our knowledge that this area generally represents the location of the heaviest calculus formation.  In other words, if you spend the most time brushing the surface you start with, then you should start with the surface with the most plaque.

Where you brush first certainly does make a difference in plaque removal and reducing calculus formation, but to effectively avoid periodontal disease we need to back up our starting point from brushing to flossing first.

We know that periodontal disease begins between the teeth and, as you would suspect, more disease is found in the harder to reach molar areas.Statistically the majority of people will brush their teeth everyday.  Unfortunately few people floss regularly or floss effectively to remove plaque that leads to periodontal disease.

The tooth-brushing message remains to brush the inside of your bottom teeth first, but the overall message should be to floss first.

If you really want an effective way to avoid periodontal disease and shorten the length of time you spend in the dental chair, ask your dentist or dental hygienist to evaluate your flossing technique and then practice it everyday.

Dr. Stephen Petras