Posts for category: Hygiene
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!
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.
To floss or not to floss – continued….
The Best comment I have regarding last week’s flossing news is from Emily Willingham of Forbes Magazine: “I would like to urge the people of Earth to please continue flossing their teeth or using something to clean between them, if possible… Unless you are Gollum, you probably get food bits stuck between your teeth that toothbrushes, no matter how good you are with them, aren’t gonna get out…The story questioning the benefits of flossing doesn’t actually say that flossing has no benefits.”
Flossing not beneficial? Balderdash!
It was hard not to miss this morning’s front page Mercury News treatment of the latest dental bombshell:
The federal government, after compiling studies on flossing, said there’s little or no evidence it benefits dental health and has stopped recommending its use.
The article goes on to say the Associated Press examined the research and failed to find convincing evidence that flossing is effective. The studies found were “weak, unreliable,” and of “very low” quality.
What do we, who spend our days in the dental trenches say in response?
First, after looking in mouths for 30+ years, we can unequivocally state that regular flossing greatly reduces plaque buildup, prevents cavities, and keeps gums healthier than they would ever be without said flossing.
Second, perhaps this Flossing Kerfuffle is a benefit in disguise since it will create new dialogue in what has been a tired old story since 1979 (the year the government began recommending that Americans floss every day). How many times a day do we hear, “I know I should floss, but I haven’t been doing it.” Now we can replace the guilt with an honest to goodness conversation about why we think floss is still one of the most important tools in the oral health toolbox. It will become not just a duty one has to endure, but a free will act of self- care that will help reduce bleeding, save jawbone and keep teeth comfortable and functional for life.
What’s not to like about that?
Thank you, U.S. government!