Zero Toxics Knowledge Base
A new study from the Silent Spring Institute and Public Health Institute found higher levels of PFHxS (perfluorohexanesulfonic acid), a PFAS, in women who flossed with Oral-B Glide compared to those who didn’t. Other brands of floss may also use these chemicals (which may or may not appear on the label).
“This is the first study to show that using dental floss containing PFAS is associated with a higher body burden of these toxic chemicals,” lead author Katie Boronow, a scientist at Silent Spring.
My interest in this study is it shows that even small exposures to toxic chemicals not only can but DO end up in bodies in measurable amounts.
Some dental flosses do contain PFAS and other PFCs as a coating on the floss, according to Dentistry Today: Dental Floss May Have Cancer Causing Component. Dental floss used to be coated with wax, but now typically a PFC is used, which I imagine would make it easier to slip the floss between your teeth as well. The floss itself is generally made from nylon.
Toxic-Free Dental Floss
After posting Q&A: New Study Finds Toxic Nonstick Chemicals in Oral B Dental Floss in January 2019, I received so many questions about toxic-free dental floss I thought I would just add some comments about this to this post. Also read my responses in the comments below.
First I just want to say that dental floss is not one of your greatest exposures to toxic chemicals. It’s not a product I’ve focused on in the past.
Note in the comments below one reader wrote it saying she had contacted P+G, who sent her a document that shows PFAs are NOT an ingredient in their Glide dental floss. The study did not even look at the ingredients in the product. It was rather a study that showed that select group of people who had PFAs in their body used Glide dental floss. So we can’t say that there are PFAs in Glide dental floss.
But if you are concerned about this possible exposure, let me give you my thoughts about products that are unlikely to contain PFAs or any other industrial chemicals as ingredients.
Rather than simply give you a list, I want to show you my process of how I came up with this list.
First I went to my new Zero Toxics Products + Materials Matrix. Even though I haven’t written the ratings specifically for dental floss yet, these ratings do show how I think about products and how I quickly evaluate products that are likely to be toxic-free.
Here are quick notes of what the ratings would be for dental floss:
Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.
ZERO TOXICS IS LIKE A PUZZLE
In this Knowledge Base, i'm gathering together bits and pieces of information about materials used to make products, and bringing some order to them so we can all better understand what's in our products. So many pages will be incomplete as I go through this process. When I feel I've put together a fairly complete picture of the material, I'll take down this notice from this page.
Here are some dental flosses I looked at, with their Zero Toxics Matrix ratings and materials given in their descriptions:
Dental Lace | Silk Dental Floss with Natural Mint Flavoring
Made from 100% silk and candelilla wax.
Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Floss
Material of floss unknown. coated with natural beeswax with added antiseptic tea tree oil.
RADIUS – NATURAL SILK FLOSS
Made from 100% silk and Candelilla wax.
Dr. Ginger’s All Natural Coconut Oil & White Charcoal Dental Floss
Made with coconut oil, xylitol and white charcoal, no information given on fiber of floss.
POH Dental Floss
Made from nylon, wax unknown, however, this isn’t your orfinary floss. “Many thin strands of nylon enable our floss to disrupt and disorganize the bacterial plaque, which is the key to preventing tooth decay and gum disease.”
Eco-Dent Gentlefloss Premium Dental Floss, Mint
100% vegan waxed, no information on material used for floss itself
COCOFLOSS Coconut-oil Infused Luxury Dental Floss
Made from microfibers infused with coconut oil. Says right in the description “no PFA.”
Dr Tungs’s Smart Floss
Made from polyester floss, undisclosed wax “not petroleum based…GMO-free, does not contain phthalates, residual solvents, known allergens or gluten,” cardamom essential oil.
Many mass market brand dental flosses may contain PFAS or other PFCs to make them glide between teeth more easily. Any brand that does contain PFAS would get my “D” rating—not an immediate poisoning but could build up to be dangerous over time with regular use.
This isn’t a complete review or writeup on all dental floss. This is simply a work-in-progress as I develop my ratings system.
ZERO TOXICS is rooted in my forty years of research and experience living toxic-free. I'm gathering and organizing the data I have to make this knowledge available to everyone. Feel free to ask questions, share data, and join in the discussion in the comments section below.
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