Is your dental floss healthy?
We all now know how important regular flossing is as part of our healthy oral hygiene routine. Every dentist wants us to practice flossing. It’s essential oral care, helps to remove plaque and reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and so much more, but…
Not All Dental Floss Is Created Equal.
We already know the less plastic in our lives, the better for our health and our world’s health too. It’s true that most floss is unfortunately packaged in plastic, but you may not know that the actual floss might be made or coated with it too! And think of that plastic being threaded in and around your gums daily. Those little “freebies” your dentist gives you are actually a health and wellness nightmare. Have you ever thought twice about taking them? It’s time to. The health and environmental impacts linked to generic floss might surprise you.
Floss, designed specifically not to tear, is a real problem in the ocean and in our mouths. Like other plastics, it can end up suffocating marine animals, or making its way into their stomachs, where it often stays for years, causing serious health issues. And plastics, microplastics, toxic waxes and other flavours or chemicals are the last thing any of us want in our mouths (and our bodies).
Just like single-use plastic straws (that get a lot of attention), floss dispensers are not reusable or recyclable … these types of plastics usually don’t even make it to a landfill. In fact, I’ve read in many reports that almost half of single-use plastics are left to flow into our oceans.
On top of the damage caused by plastic floss dispensers, conventional floss is made from nylon coated in synthetic wax and harmful chemicals … it is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable. Even worse, the sturdy design of dental floss makes it possible to entangle and strangle wildlife.
Many waxed flosses are “easy glide” and “stick-resistant”, meaning it moves between your teeth more easily … sounds positive, right? Think non-stick cookware … we know the dangers. Think of flossing with that every day (or any day!). Terrifyingly, floss manufacturers created the “easy glide” by using harmful chemicals like PFASs, PFCs, BPA, Lead, and Cadmium. By using conventional floss daily, you might be unknowingly ingesting these chemicals, encouraging them to seep into your body and the environment. These chemicals are found in way too many products including clothes, cookware and furniture and are KNOWN hazards to our health and planet – in devastatingly serious ways. We have discussed these in many Wellness Intelligence Breaks and Healthy Home sessions and will continue to, with a focus on the solutions.
You don’t (or no longer need to) use non-stick pans because they are coated in toxic chemicals that can leach into your food … and eventually, your bloodstream, and are linked to liver damage, cancer, and developmental issues. They can compromise the immune system and linger in the body and environment for years. Let’s avoid this all from our dental floss too.
And then there are the flosses that claim to be eco-friendly and made from silk. Silk floss can be natural and biodegradable but keep in mind that silk is not vegan and harvesting silk is not always cruelty-free. Who doesn’t want to be 100% cruelty-free?
Floss also comes in flavours like mint and cinnamon … but where are those flavours from?
The best part about every one of our Lessons in Empathy Economics? Non-toxic, better, and safer dental flosses do exist, and when we bring up problems, we take great pride in being solutions-focused. These better products (and any others you might use – please let us know!) need your help getting the fame they deserve, so please share!
Also, please suggest these better floss options to your local dentist – and include your “why”. They are handing out freebies and information, so we need them on our side of the floss “fight”. We are all doing the best we can with the information we have … but know we know more, so the key is to not un-know!
We know that takes time to train your brain to question everything and replace the products you’ve been using for so many years. One new habit at a time is great. And that is why we are here. To create the conditions for you to boost your Wellness Intelligence and do better for yourself.
Floss is a perfect example of how by being more conscious about “little” things, we can actually boost our Wellness Intelligence in big ways. Big impact everyday.
As “Sustainable Jungle” puts it, “Where you’re opting for zero waste floss or another natural alternative to flossing, reducing your use of petroleum-based plastics and toxic chemicals is a terrific way to get a healthier smile (and in turn a healthier planet).” We couldn’t agree more.