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Are There Carcinogens on Your Dental Floss?

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Are There Carcinogens on Your Dental Floss?

When you talk about cutting excess plastic out of your life, your oral hygiene routine might not be the first thing that springs to mind. Sure, you’re cutting the plastic in your kitchen and trying not to buy things that come in disposable plastic packaging, but if you’re trying to cut out the plastic for health reasons, you might want to check your dental floss.

Back in the day, dental floss was made from thread coated in wax. The wax is key here: it helps the floss slide between your teeth more easily. For folks like me that don’t have a lot of space between our teeth, it makes flossing a lot more comfortable. As plastic and plastic coatings like Teflon got more popular, they also got less expensive and chances are the dental floss in your cabinet is not coated with wax but with a perfluorinated polymer – also known as a PFC. It’s the same stuff that keeps your food from sticking to a Teflon pan and you’ll also find a PFC coating on some fast food wrappers.

The Trouble with PFCs

So, what’s the problem with PFCs on your dental floss? The biggest issue is that they don’t stay there. When you floss your teeth PFCs leach off of the dental floss and into your body while you’re getting that unsightly broccoli out from between your teeth.

PFCs are not only carcinogenic, but they can damage your immune system and affect your hormone levels. The amount you absorb from one round of flossing probably isn’t going to hurt you, but because PFCs stick around in your body for a long time they can build up over time. If you’re flossing once or twice a day, you should probably consider a PFC-free dental floss alternative. Check out a few ideas on the next page!

Next>> Finding PFC-Free Dental Floss Alternatives

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, General Health, Health, Oral Care, , , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
4:35AM PDT on Sep 15, 2014

Now this is in actual fact cooperative. It’s very openhanded of you to share this with us.
dentist reseda

4:33AM PDT on Sep 15, 2014

dentist resedaNow this is in actual fact cooperative. It’s very openhanded of you to share this with us.

11:45PM PST on Jan 19, 2014

Thanks for the valuable information.

11:10PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Your blogs are fantastic, useful and your articles are wonderful.

6:48PM PDT on May 15, 2013

As always, I think things are a bit more complicated. The mouth is an ecosystem where bacteria and fungus of different varieties probably have a role in keeping the mouth healthy. Problems arise when these bacteria enter the blood stream. Flossing/brushing can also cause these bacteria to enter the blood stream. You can't use chemicals to sterilize your mouth and turn it into a SuperFund site either. So it is a delicate balancing act with no easy options.
Perhaps you should floss once a week?

5:05AM PDT on May 15, 2013

I stopped flossing for a while but this article has made me run to the bathroom cabinet for some floss. I had no idea!

9:04AM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:08PM PST on Feb 18, 2013

Thanks a lot for sharing!

9:07PM PST on Feb 14, 2013


9:04PM PST on Feb 14, 2013


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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