So, a lot of people ask me this crazy question. I’m hesitant to pick one over the other, but I will for the sake of this question because that’s what I’m here for. And that question is: “Dr. Burhenne, if you were stranded on a desert island and you had to pick between floss and a toothbrush, which would you take?”
And of course, that’s a crazy question. But I think you’ll be surprised that the correct answer is floss.
You have to take the floss. Flossing is more important than brushing. The ramifications of not flossing, I think, are greater than not brushing. I think in the long run, gum disease and the build-up of biofilm in between the teeth is more deleterious than the buildup that brushing would access.
And besides, my fallback in this hypothetical island scenario is that I’ll be eating fresh island food (nothing processed), so I won’t have to worry about any kind of cariogenic (cavity-causing) foods.
So, that’s my answer: floss.
Blog Notes: About Mark Burhenne DDS
The mouth doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is intimately connected to the health of the rest of the body.
In fact, the bacteria and entire environment inside the mouth are connected to the rest of your body so intimately that the state of your oral health can predict whether you’ll have heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
In my 30 years of practice as a dentist, I’ve seen a lot of misinformation and people who have fallen through the cracks due to our healthcare system’s failure to understand the oral-body connection.
I created this blog to empower people to understand how your mouth is a window into the health of the rest of your body.
It is my sincere hope that the knowledge and tools on this blog will lead to greater health and well-being for you and those you love.
Throughout this website you’ll find high-quality articles and free resources for getting and staying healthy. It’s the info I use to keep myself and my family healthy, and how I treat my patients.
More About Mark Burhenne DDS
I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in History of Art and had the privilege of attending the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, consistently ranked among the best in the US.
I am an active member of several continuing education groups and study clubs in prosthetics and periodontology that perform actual clinical work on patients. I have worked as an expert witness in legal dental cases. I’ve also volunteered as a dental surgeon in Jos, Nigeria.
I raised three daughters without cavities (all without ingestion of fluoride). I enjoy downhill skiing, alpine touring, mountain biking, photography, and listening to jazz and classical records (you know, those flat analog 12-inch vinyl discs).
I am passionate about restoring teeth to their original function and beauty – and as someone who studied art history and is a hobbyist photographer, the intersection of art and the opportunity to help people makes dentistry my dream profession.
Mark Burhenne DDS
Ask the Dentist is for you, so I want to know, what would you like answered on Ask the Dentist? Leave a comment below!Read Next: Should I Brush or Floss First?