Awareness of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. But there is one source of this toxic exposure that you might not have thought much about yet. A study linking PFAS exposure with dental floss could have you questioning this good hygiene habit.
Can dental flossing expose you to toxic chemicals?
According to a study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, “people who use certain types of dental floss may absorb toxic chemicals that have been linked with heart disease and cancer.” While PFAS are in countless household and industrial items, dental floss may be more problematic than any other mode of exposure.
We don’t chew on raincoats or bodywash, for example, but dental floss is inserted directly into our mouths and scraped between our teeth. This provides the perfect avenue for toxic PFAS to be absorbed directly into our saliva and gums.
The previously mentioned study found that women who regularly used certain types of floss like Oral-B Glide had higher blood levels of one particular type of PFAS chemical known as perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS).
What Is The Harm?
Remember that PFAS are nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they are virtually impossible to get rid of and can remain in our bodies for years after exposure. They have been linked to all of the major diseases we typically think of—including heart disease, liver damage, immune diseases, hormonal imbalance, and cancer.
Should You Stop Flossing?
Oral hygiene is very important for overall health and disease prevention. Of course, you should still brush and floss regularly, but choose your personal products wisely. Avoid dental floss with any sort of plastic coating. Instead, select a natural organic dental floss that is free of PFAS. Those coated with Neem or coconut oil may be a good option due to its bonus benefits of eliminating bad bacteria while helping to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. Tongue scraping is another great step to improve your breath and detoxify your entire body.
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What To Remember:
Some dental floss contains chemicals, which are easily absorbed in your mouth.
These toxic PFAS are linked to serious diseases.
Flossing is still safe and valuable, as long as you choose a PFAS-free product.
Safe oral hygiene is essential to good health.Sources:Tests find PFAS abundant in some dental floss. Douglas Fischer, (September 2022). Environmental Health News: https://www.ehn.org/pfas-floss-2658203711.html
Risks of PFASs known decades before research revealed, says expert, (2018). Harvard School of Public Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/pfas-health-risks-grandjean/
Why Coconut Oil Is Good for Your Teeth. Kayla McDonnel, (May 2021). Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-and-teeth#:~:text=Coconut%20oil%20has%20been%20used,get%20rid%20of%20bad%20breath.
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“Eyes are the windows to the soul. A smile is the mirror of the heart.” – Janna Cachola