I saw it first on my Facebook feed some months ago, something about Glide containing harmful chemicals and not being good to use.
What’s the real story?
It turns out that a study published back in January found compounds called PFAS in the bodies of people who flossed with Glide.
What’s a PFAS?
Per - and polyfluoroalkyl substances – PFAS – are man-made chemicals that repel oil and water. They’re found in things as diverse as non-stick cookware (e.g., Teflon), fast food containers, stain-resistant carpet, weatherproof clothing, and …. Glide floss. They’ve been around since the 1940’s and can accumulate in our bodies and stay around a long time.
Are they harmful?
PFAS, according to https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas, have been linked to increased cholesterol levels. There are limited findings that they may have immunological, hormonal and reproductive effects also. And one compound, PFOA, has been linked to cancer. Research is ongoing and there is concern because these are “forever chemicals” – they linger in our bodies, in our drinking water, and in the environment. https://www.consumerreports.org/toxic-chemicals-substances/pfas-chemicals-should-you-be-concerned/
The study in question, published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, measured levels of PFAS in the blood of 178 women and looked at their habits, which in some cases included using Glide. There is no way to know whether the PFAS were there because of flossing, using non-stick fry pans, ordering take-out pizzas, or any other activity. And, more importantly, the study says nothing about the effects these chemical compounds had on the subjects’ health.
Glide was developed to make it easy to slip floss between tight teeth. It does just that. The benefits of flossing are great in stemming inflammation and gum disease. Whether PFAS accumulate in the body because of using Glide is still unproven.
Could you use a different type of PFAS-free floss instead? Yes, absolutely. If your teeth are really tight, there are other alternatives that may still be “slippery” enough to get between your teeth. We can give you samples at the office.
The important thing is to keep flossing.
Science keeps finding ways that mouth health is linked to total body health.
The latest news is a potential link between gum (periodontal) disease and Alzheimer’s disease. In the study cited, bacteria from the mouth that causes gum disease was found in the brain tissue of over 90% of the Alzheimer’s patients studied. Whether this type of bacteria is the cause or a contributing factor in Alzheimer’s disease is still in question.
Either way, keeping gums free of bleeding and inflammation is even more paramount in light of this new information. Good home care and regular hygiene visits are our “chorus”, but maybe you’ll want to join in the refrain too!
We hope your New Year has gotten off to a great start and that your resolution to floss every day has already become a habit (for daily flossing IS the best resolution ever, isn’t it)?!
2019 is a year of new beginnings for our office. With tears in our eyes, we bade goodbye to Jill last fall. After seventeen years of “hygiening” with us, she and her family relocated to Colorado, where they are enjoying the mountains and a real winter.
In Jill’s place, we feel very fortunate to have found Svetlana, a graduate of the Foothill College Dental Hygiene program. We are thrilled to have her, for she is passionate about keeping mouths healthy and getting our patients excited about taking care of their teeth. Originally from Russia, she and her husband have lived in the Bay Area for five years. They have a five-year-old daughter and, if she has her way, might be getting a dog soon!
The next time you’re in our office, be sure to notice our new hybrid flooring! It is a huge update from the tired carpeting that was there, and it has given the entire space a new fresh look.
Hope to see you soon!
There is a new product on the market that has come to our attention (thank you, Cindy B.): Cocofloss. Here is the answer to the drudgery of daily flossing. Cocofloss is a beautiful blue thick floss infused with coconut oil that elevates flossing to the next level.
The tag line reads “a loofah for your smile”, and the idea behind the product is to make flossing more fun, motivating and rewarding.
We like the idea and we like the product. Cocofloss comes in four flavors, it’s easy to order, and there is even an auto shipment plan. But most importantly, the floss does a good job cleaning between your teeth (the blue color makes the plaque more visible) and, in a surprising way, it makes you almost want to floss. That’s amazing.
Each unit contains 32 yards of floss, a two-month supply, and retails for $8.
Check out cocofloss.com and see if you agree.
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