While it’s touted as a smart way to prevent cavities and keep the teeth clean, dental floss is coming under fire in a new survey for having links to a series of serious illnesses, including testicular cancer and thyroid disease.
Our Love for Dental Floss and Eating Out
For lovers of flossing and take-out, there’s no better substitute for either. Flossing keeps mouth breath clean and teeth shiny, and take-out – well, take-out makes life so much better. They’re both such deeply embedded parts of culture and society that it would be hard to weed them out.
But there’s bad news in the air. A new recent study suggests that dental floss and take-out might be super dangerous, thanks to the chemicals present in floss and take-out packaging. If you still think there’s nothing to worry about, read the next section.
How Dangerous Could They Be?
The study, which gets published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, found that some dental floss products were leading to high levels of PFAS in the blood.
PFAS is a compound also known as polyfluoroalkyl that is commonly found in grease-proof and waterproof products, such as dental floss and fast food packaging.
The study found that users of both the former and the latter had high concentrations of the compound in their blood and that there was a correlation to some of today’s worst illnesses, including kidney disease, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol.
In an even worse twist, the study found that users of some popular dental floss brands and products, including Glide, had higher amounts of a PFAS compound called PFHxS in their bloodstreams.
The study also discovered that human behaviors were mostly responsible for the results in some of the participants. Activities such as consuming takeout from cardboard-coated packaging were found to directly correlate with higher amounts of four different types of PFAS in participants’ blood.
The Facts of the Study
The study was carried out between 2010 and 2013 by researchers from the Silent Spring Institute and Public Health Institute using a sample population of 178 women that had previously been part of a study sample for the Public Health Institute between 1959 and 1967.
The study aimed to look for 11 different types of PFAS, and examined a series of activities including dental flossing and fast food consumption, later concluding between 2015 and 2016.
What’s The Solution?
Luckily, there’s a solution. According to the study’s lead author, Katie Boronow, “The good news is that based on our findings, consumers can choose flosses that don’t contain PFAS.”
In other words, you can always choose dental floss that doesn’t contain the compound PFAS, even though that might mean leaving your favorite brand, such as Glide, which was found by the study to have the compound in some of its flosses.
Here’s to hoping that dental floss makers can react to this study and start limiting the presence of this compound in their products. In the meantime, stay safe.