Is floss dangerous for your health?

Not all types of floss are safe: some of them contain PFAS, which are realted to serious diseases.

For a correct oral hygiene, we should wash our teeth after each meal and use floss to remove plaque inbetween one tooth and the other. This tool has proved itself to be fundamental to prevent cavities and gingivitis: however, we cannot underestimate its risks. According to a recent study, some types of floss contain dangerous substances for our health.

Floss: is it dangerous?

Researchers from the Silen Spring Institute of Newton, in Massachusetts, analyzed the eventual link between using some brands of floss and the increase of PFAS levels in the blood. These chemicals are considered responsible of many diseases.

The study analyzed 178 women using 18 different types of floss. Scientists then checked the levels of 11 PFAS on blood samples. After that, they crossed the datas with the questionnaires that analyzed the eventual exposition to other PFAS.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/it/filo-interdentale-orale-dentale-668215/

Results showed that women who used specific types of floss had a higher level of PFHxS (a type of PFAS) in their blood. In order to verify the actual presence of fluorine, one of the main components of PFAS, researchers used gamma ray emission spectroscopy.

Which is the best floss?

However, not every oral hygiene tool contains dangerous substances. For example, it seems that the safest one is waxed floss. Dr Katherine E. Boronow, the head of the team, said: “The good news is that, according to our results, people can choose all those types of floss that do not contain any PFAS”.

PFAS: why they can be dangerous

Why are these substances that dangerous? They are chemicals contained in thousands of products we use daily. For example, you can find them in food boxes, non-stick pans or in the linings of some clothes.

They have good properties: they are fire, fat and water-proof, ensure thermal stability and have many more actions. At the moment, there are not yet any scientific proofs linking PFAS with certain diseases. However, there are some connections between a high level of these substances and disease such as testicle and kidney cancer, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and sterility.

ultimo aggiornamento: 24-08-2019

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