Dentist in Sherman Oaks

Brushing vs. Flossing: The Great Debate and How to Do Both Effectively


For decades, the mantra of good oral hygiene has been ingrained in us: brush twice a day, floss once a day. But even within this seemingly straightforward advice, a debate simmers: which is more important, brushing or flossing? While both play crucial roles in maintaining healthy teeth and gums, understanding their unique functions and mastering their techniques is key to maximizing their benefits.

Let’s Talk Toothbrushing

Brushing stands as the frontline defense against oral debris. It involves cleaning the surfaces of teeth using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. The primary goal is to remove plaque, food debris, and bacteria that contribute to cavities, gingivitis, and other oral diseases.

Modern toothbrushes come in a variety of forms, manual or electric, offering options for individual preferences and needs. You should choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head that allows easy maneuverability around the mouth. Electric toothbrushes are also effective alternatives, particularly for those with limited dexterity or mobility issues.

You’ll also need a toothpaste to brush. Fluoride toothpaste further boosts protection by strengthening tooth enamel and inhibiting bacterial growth.


Follow these steps to ensure proper technique:

  1. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gum line.
  2. Gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes, covering approximately two teeth at a time.
  3. Clean the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of every tooth.
  4. Pay special attention to areas prone to tartar accumulation, such as near the gumline and between teeth.
  5. Use circular motions to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth.


Ideally, brush twice daily – once in the morning upon waking up and again before going to bed. Each session should last at least two minutes, divided equally across quadrants of the mouth.

Brushing alone, however, cannot reach the narrow spaces between teeth, leaving plaque and bacteria to flourish in these hidden havens.

What About Flossing?

Flossing, helps reach into the interdental regions where the toothbrush cannot. By gently maneuvering between teeth, floss dislodges and removes plaque, food particles, and bacteria nestled in these areas. This action helps prevent the build-up of harmful substances that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and even periodontitis (gum disease).

Flossing is an essential part of maintaining good oral health. It helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath by removing bacteria and food debris from areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. The cord, known as dental floss, is made of nylon or other synthetic materials and is available in various forms, including waxed, unwaxed, flavored, and unflavored. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day, preferably before brushing, to ensure optimal oral hygiene.


For the best results in flossing, these helpful tips can improve your oral hygiene routine greatly:

  • Use about 18 inches of floss, winding it around your middle fingers for control.
  • Gently slide the floss between each tooth, curving it around the base to reach the gumline.
  • Scrape the sides of each tooth as you withdraw the floss.
  • Repeat for all teeth, using a clean section of floss for each.
  • Floss once a day, ideally before bedtime.
  • Be sure to use a fresh section of floss for each tooth to avoid spreading bacteria

While flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene, it is not a substitute for regular dental checkups and professional cleanings. Dentists can identify and treat dental problems before they become more severe and provide guidance on proper oral hygiene practices, including flossing.

The Great Debate Resolved

Therefore, declaring one as significantly more crucial than the other would undermine the significance of your oral health. Brushing and flossing work together , each tending to distinct facets of oral hygiene. Envision your mouth as a fortified castle: brushing constructs the resilient outer walls, warding off initial threats, while flossing serves as the agile scouts, exploring concealed passages to eradicate hidden foes. Both components are essential for a strong and comprehensive defense.

Beyond the Basics: Getting Regular Dental Check-Ups from Sherman Oaks Dental Clinic, CA

Regular dental check-ups play a pivotal role in preserving your oral health and well-being. At Sherman Oaks Dental Clinic, our dedicated professionals prioritize preventive care, empowering patients to proactively manage their dental health. Routine dental visits go beyond simply checking for cavities. Our skilled practitioners conduct thorough examinations, screenings, and evaluations to detect potential issues early, minimizing the risk of complications and promoting long-term oral health.

Our services include:

  1. Professional Cleanings – Removing built-up tartar and plaque, preventing gum disease and tooth decay.
  2. X-rays – Identifying underlying conditions, such as bone loss, cysts, tumors, and impacted teeth.
  3. Periodontal Evaluations – Assessing the health of gums and supporting structures.
  4. Oral Cancer Screenings – Detecting signs of abnormal cell growth and identifying potential risks.
  5. Tooth Decay Prevention – Providing customized recommendations for improving oral hygiene habits and reducing susceptibility to cavities.

Every dentist Sherman Oaks CA believes that prevention is better than cure. By attending regular dental appointments, you can safeguard your oral health, save money on expensive treatments, and enjoy a lifetime of happy smiles.

Remember, your oral health is closely linked to your overall well-being. Don’t wait until something goes wrong – schedule your next appointment with a dentist at Sherman Oaks, CA today and invest in your future smile.

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If you have any questions or would like to discuss your symptoms, contact our office for a prompt response.

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