Toxic Dental Floss

Shocking to discover your favorite floss is coated in Teflon. Everyone knows how toxic Teflon is.

2019 has put flossing back in the news, but not about the controversy of, “To floss or not to floss?” The type of floss is what matters, “To use chemicals or not to use chemicals?” Who would guess you might be using toxic dental floss? My golden rule both professionally and personally is to always question products made with chemicals, especially those which can be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed, and to be aware of the environmental consequences.

Just as I kept my young daughter from the mainstream cereal aisles, I believe it’s just as important to caution patients from the mainstream dental product aisles. Like cereal, dental merchandise is boldly marketed, and like the empty calories in colorful cereal, the dental products could be void of therapeutic ingredients. Chemicals are cheap, they can make kid’s cereal really bright and exciting, and can make toothpaste give an aggressive sting in the mouth or can make floss glide in between teeth real easy, yet it is crucial to know their effect on the body. The internet is flooded with articles about floss coated with  polytetrafluoroethylene (PFC’S), better known as Teflon; here’s a good one, https://www.health.com/oral-health/pfas-floss. 

Teflon is Coated on Toxic Dental Floss

I have been recommending a natural wax coated floss for years, but honestly, mostly from intuition, and from my own philosophy, “If you can’t recognize the names of the first few ingredients of what you put in your mouth, let alone on your body, you should be leery.” However, this wasn’t always the case, as when I was younger I compartmentalized my thinking to my personal life, only to be a robot at work and follow the status quo of a dental professional.

I remember the day the sales rep introduced Glide floss to us, which was then owned by Gore, before Proctor and Gamble purchased it. He let us know the floss was coated with the waterproof Gore-Tex that was used in clothing and tents. Not one single thought was given to Gore-Tex as an edible, the entire staff thought Glide was the coolest floss on the planet, including me. This was way before we knew anything about Teflon and the dangers of our coated cookware, and we were completely unaware that Gore-Tex and Teflon were the same things. For years, from many different dental offices, I opened the dental supply drawer in my operatory, dropped a toothbrush, a Glide floss (as it predominated the professional market), and a sample size toothpaste, with a sticker if you were a good little boy or girl, into a plastic baggy. Now I say QUESTION WHAT GETS PUT INTO YOUR BAGGIE.

QUESTION THE CHEMICALS IN WELL MARKETED PRODUCTS for anything in your life. The mainstream aisles are getting better, with healthier alternatives, but it is still up to you, the consumer to scrutinize what you purchase. I am happy the news is out on floss coated with PFC’S and the harmful health issues that can arise from this chemical exposure. It is true, there are many sources of this chemical well beyond floss, but one thing you have control of is what you bring into your home. So, get rid of your Teflon pots and pans, and most certainly, get rid of your Gore-Tex coated floss. Unfortunately, there is no ingredient labeling requirement on dental floss, so it may not be obvious of the kind you are using. It is safest to use floss which clearly labels; “Natural wax from beeswax or vegetable sources.”

Click image to purchase this healthy floss

To learn more about cleaning your teeth in between, see my blog Flossing and Everything In Betweeen.

*This blog contains affiliate links for products Ask My Hygienist carefully recommends based on professional experience or personal use. These suggestions are to assist you in your quest for better oral health, and in turn, you're assisting our blog with the small commission we receive from your purchase.

Author: Cari

Cari has been a practicing dental hygienist for over 30 years. She received her degree with honors and was selected for a rare internship at Eastman Dental School, Rochester, NY. She then went on to receive a BS in Social Work from Nazareth College, cum laude. She has practiced in a variety of offices in Santa Fe for almost 25 years, with dental hygiene experience that has spanned from public health to holistic private practice, to specializing in dental phobic patients. Her commitment to research with a life-long desire to learn is combined with her genuine drive to provide patients with a whole health knowledge base. Cari also brings her experience as a published writer to her role as an oral health blogger. She has written blogs and web pages for Beyond Borders Dental in her role as Director of Dental Relations and Education.

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