If you’re like most adults, you’ve probably been told that you need to floss your teeth every single day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy. Though this is still 100% true – flossing can help remove plaque and other buildup that brushing alone can’t – there may be some evidence to suggest that standard dental floss from the drug store might be making people sick. Here’s what you need to know.
What Was the Claim?
In 2018 and early in 2019, numerous news outlets covered a sensational study conducted on the effects of using regular dental floss found in department and drug stores across the nation. The claim was made in a study published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology; per the study, regular use of a specific brand of dental floss as encouraged by the American Dental Association (ADA) led to increased amounts of PFAS, or poly-fluoroalkyls, in the participant’s bloodstreams.
Polyfluoroalkyls are essentially man-made chemicals and compounds that cannot be found out in nature, and they are typically found in places where PFAS-containing products are being used. PFAS are known to seep into groundwater and soil, and they can even be carried through the air. Other studies have pegged PFAS as carcinogenic, which raised some real concerns among people around the world. However, the ADA has dismissed the study, claiming that the sample size of 178 women was too small to be conclusive. What’s more, the ADA also noted that numerous products are sources of PFAS so there is no way to tell whether the floss was the culprit.
What Does This Mean?
Because the ADA has essentially dismissed the study because of small sample sizes and a lack of proper controls, many people believe that their dental floss is perfectly safe. However, even if the dental floss was not the cause of the increased PFAS concentration, it should be noted that many common brands of floss found in stores – including store brands – contain these substances. With this information in mind, even if the ADA claims that there is no proof that floss is responsible for the PFAS in the 178 women’s bloodstreams, reducing exposure to PFAS is always a good idea.
Fortunately, you can find all-natural alternatives that do not contain PFAS. Made with completely biodegradable silk and coated with a 100% natural wax, this floss performs just like the big name brands, but without the same potentially harmful ingredients. It’s packaged in renewable plant-based plastic and it is even printed with soy ink so you can feel good about your purchase.
If you’ve been using common brands of dental floss, you probably don’t have much to worry about, but it may be a good idea to go ahead and make the switch to something more natural. It works just the same as any floss you can buy on the market today, but you don’t have to worry about your health every time you floss your teeth – and that kind of peace of mind for you and your family is priceless.