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What is the Right Way to Brush and Floss Your Teeth?

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential for a healthy smile and overall well-being. Brushing and flossing are two fundamental components of an effective oral care routine. However, a common question that arises is whether it’s better to brush your teeth first or floss them first. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the science behind brushing and flossing, weigh the pros and cons of each approach, discuss the best products to enhance your dental care routine, and highlight common mistakes to avoid.

The Science Behind Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth

Tooth brushing and flossing serve distinct purposes in maintaining good oral health. Brushing your teeth removes plaque, bacteria, and food particles from the surfaces of your teeth. It helps prevent cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, brush gently in circular motions for two minutes, ensuring you cover all tooth surfaces.

Flossing, on the other hand, targets the spaces between your teeth and along the gumline. These areas are often missed by toothbrushes, making flossing crucial for removing plaque and debris. Dental floss or interdental brushes can be used to clean these tight spaces effectively. Flossing should be done gently, sliding the floss between each tooth in a C-shaped motion and ensuring it reaches below the gumline.

The Pros & Cons of Brushing Before or After Flossing

The order in which you brush and floss can impact the effectiveness of your oral care routine. Brushing before flossing allows the toothpaste to reach all tooth surfaces, including those between teeth, maximizing its benefits. It also helps remove any loosened particles after flossing. On the other hand, some argue that flossing first can loosen plaque, making it easier to brush away. Ultimately, the decision between brushing before or after flossing depends on personal preference and what feels most effective for you.

What Products Should You Use to Make Tooth-Brushing & Flossing Easier?

Choosing the right oral care products can significantly enhance your brushing and flossing routine. When it comes to toothpaste, opt for one that contains fluoride, as it helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay. Additionally, consider factors like taste and sensitivity when selecting a toothpaste that suits your needs. For flossing, traditional dental flossing works well for most people, but interdental brushes are excellent alternatives for individuals with wider gaps between their teeth or those with orthodontic appliances. Moreover, the ongoing debate of electric versus manual toothbrushes continues, with electric toothbrushes offering convenience and potentially superior plaque removal.

Common Mistakes People Make When Brushing & Flossing Their Teeth

While brushing and flossing seem simple, many individuals unknowingly make mistakes that compromise their oral health. One common error is using a hard-bristled toothbrush, which can damage gums and enamel. Another mistake is neglecting to replace toothbrushes or brush heads regularly, as worn-out bristles are less effective at cleaning teeth. Some people also rush through their oral care routine, not dedicating the recommended two minutes to brushing. Additionally, incorrect flossing techniques, such as snapping the floss against the gums, can lead to gum irritation.

In conclusion, both brushing and flossing are crucial for maintaining optimal oral hygiene. Whether you choose to brush or floss first is a personal preference, as long as both tasks are performed thoroughly. Remember to use the right oral care products, follow proper techniques, and avoid common mistakes. By integrating these practices into your daily routine, you can achieve a healthy, confident smile that lasts a lifetime.

At O2 Dental, our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing high-quality dental care to patients of all ages. We understand the importance of proper oral hygiene and are here to support you in maintaining a healthy smile. If you have any questions or concerns about brushing, flossing, or any aspect of your dental care routine, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our friendly staff is available to address your inquiries and schedule an appointment to ensure your oral health is in top condition.

Dentin Exposure: Causes and Prevention

The dentin is in the outer layer of the tooth structure, sitting underneath your enamel. Its function is to protect the nerve-filled pulp, which is also protected by the enamel coating. Since the dentin isn’t as hard as the enamel and contains nerve endings, you may experience sensitivity when it’s exposed. Keep reading to find out its causes and how you can prevent it. 

Causes of Dentin Exposure

One of the ways to prevent dentin exposure is to know how it’s exposed. 

Teeth Grinding

Clenching and grinding your upper and lower teeth together eventually leads to chips and cracks. While this condition is caused by malocclusion and stress, it also occurs during sleep. Prolonged grinding results in a thinning enamel, exposing the dentin as a result. 

We suggest speaking with a professional to help you address this issue. Your dentist may recommend getting a nighttime mouth guard to prevent tooth grinding. 

Gum Recession

Poor dental hygiene can eventually lead to serious dental problems such as gingivitis. This occurs when you don’t regularly brush and floss your teeth. Food debris can get stuck in between your teeth, leading to the accumulation of dental plaque. 

Plaque is a sticky bacteria that produce acid, destroying your tooth enamel in the long run. When not addressed, plaque can lead to gingivitis. As a result, your gums may recede, exposing you to more infection. 

Brushing Too Much

It’s recommended to use a soft-bristled toothbrush with multi-layer bristles for efficient brushing. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush and brushing with too much force can damage the enamel and cause dentin exposure. Soft toothbrushes contain less densely packed bristles, allowing them to bend easily and making them gentler on gums and teeth. 


The discoloration is caused by tannins, a property usually found in coffee or wine, and certain fruits such as peaches and dark berries. This could eventually lead to exposed dentin and make your teeth yellow. Speak with a dentist in Coal Harbour for a dental checkup. We can help you alleviate the problem and prevent more damage. 

How to Prevent Dentin Exposure

When you’re experiencing increased tooth sensitivity, this could indicate a dentin exposure. You need to see a dentist in Vancouver ASAP for a checkup. 

You can prevent dentin exposure by wearing a mouthguard to give you a more comfortable night’s sleep. Reduce your sugar intake and use a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing your teeth. Make sure to also floss twice a day to ensure your mouth stays clean. 

Contact a Dentist Today

Do you need a dental checkup? O2 dental has more than 10 years of dental experience. We specialize in cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, gum graft, children’s dentistry, implants and other dental procedures. If you need help with preventing or treating dentin exposure, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today

How Plaque and Tartar Differ and How Each Affects Your Teeth

The Differences Between Plaque and Tartar

How Plaque and Tartar Differ and How Each Affects Your Teeth and Gums

Plaque and tartar are related but they are not the same thing. You can still develop either with good oral hygiene, but the better you take care of your teeth and gums, the less chance you will have for periodontal disease and other dental problems.


Plaque on your teeth comes from the bacteria in the food you eat and liquids you drink. When you go for hours without brushing your teeth, like when you’re sleeping, you might feel like something rough and filmy is on your teeth when you wake up. There is something there and that something is plaque. Too much plaque can contribute to cavities, bad breath, and infected gums.

Some things that can contribute to the growth of plaque on your teeth include some medications, breathing through your mouth, and smoking. The longer you go between teeth cleanings, the worse your plaque will get. It can go down under your gums and form tartar. The best way to keep plaque to a minimum is to brush and floss your teeth as directed by your dentist and try to have the best oral hygiene you can.


Tartar is caused by a buildup of plaque on your teeth and often down below the gum level. Tartar is plaque that has been in your mouth long enough to harden. This makes it very difficult to remove and requires the hygienist to use special tools to remove it. These tools are sharp and pointed, but the hygienist is trained to use them carefully to do the job. Plaque and tartar, alone or together, can be a major cause of bleeding gums.

Root Planing and Scaling

Part of good oral hygiene in older patients is to undergo scaling and root planing. They are similar methods of cleaning up plaque and tartar but the depth at which they clean is different. Scaling your teeth is when the hygienist scrapes buildup off of your teeth above your gum line. If plaque and tartar are not too extensive, it might be able to be done in one visit. It is not uncommon, though, to have the procedure done in multiple visits.

Root planing goes down past the gum line to clean the plaque and tartar that has likely been there for decades. Root planing and scaling are major steps in the fight against periodontal disease. If you already have gum disease, these procedures can help to reverse it and get you back on track to have a healthy mouth.

Patients who have diabetes often suffer from dry mouth which can contribute to plaque, tartar, and periodontal disease. If you do have diabetes, it is very important to discuss your oral hygiene habits with your dentist to help maintain your overall health.

Call us today at o2 Dental in Vancouver to set up an appointment with our lead dentist. Removing plaque and tartar from your teeth can help save you a lifetime of dental problems.

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