The correct order to brush, floss, and use mouthwash is more or less important to your overall oral health. The primary goal of brushing and flossing is to remove plaque, prevent tartar buildup, and give you fresh breath. Mouthwash enhances those benefits.

Our suggested order to brush, floss, & mouthwash is as follows:

brush floss

First, floss your teeth to clean completely.

By doing this step first, you allow toothpaste to penetrate areas between the teeth that may have food particles stuck between them. Flossing is incredibly important as it cleans about 1/3 of your tooth surface that cannot be accessed by brushing alone.

brush floss

Next, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride helps strengthen enamel. Make sure to avoid gargling with water, as it can wash away the thin coating of toothpaste that helps protect your teeth.

brush floss

Finally, rinse your mouth with a fluoride containing mouthwash for 30 seconds to a minute.

This helps increase the amount of fluoride contact with your teeth. This step is particularly important before you go to sleep since teeth repair themselves from the daily damage at night, uninterrupted.

Some argue that you can brush first and floss after, but it isn’t incredibly important which one your do first. What really matters is that your brushing and flossing can remove harmful plaque from your teeth. It is generally agreed that mouthwash should be your final step, regardless of the first two. As the last step, it will help your fluoride contact increase and leave your breath smelling fresh.

Happy brush, floss, mouthwash-ing!