Understanding the Impact of PFAS in Everyday Products

A Deeper Dive into Dental Floss and its Origins

Shannon Korczynski

4/19/20245 min read

pink and white cumulus cloud
pink and white cumulus cloud

Hello everyone, I am delighted to welcome you to the inaugural blog post for Evoke Healing, a mission deeply rooted in my life's calling!

Today, we will dive into how to select dental products that are not only safe but also beneficial for our health, beginning with the essentials of choosing the right dental floss.

Understanding the Impact of PFAS in Everyday Products: A Deeper Dive into Dental Floss and its Origins

As we explore pathways to holistic health, it is important to scrutinize not just what we consume but also the everyday products we use. A significant two-year study, released in 2019, by the Silent Spring Institute, in partnership with the Public Health Institute in Berkeley, California, provides compelling insights into Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), specifically focusing on dental floss among other consumer products.

What are PFAS?
PFAS are synthetic chemicals that include substances like PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), which you might recognize under the brand name Teflon. These chemicals are valued for their durability and resistance to moisture and friction, making them popular across various applications. However, they are also known for their persistence in the environment and in biological systems such as the human body, accumulating over time without breaking down.

Origins of PTFE in Dental Floss:
Interestingly, the use of PTFE in dental floss was never originally intended. The material was developed by a DuPont employee in 1938 and has been marketed as Teflon since 1946. It found its way into many industrial applications, including in the innovative fabric, Gore-Tex, created by Bill Gore. Gore-Tex PTFE fiber was initially aimed at other markets but failed to take off as planned. This led to a pivot towards dental applications, where PTFE's properties were ideal for creating a smooth, anti-shred dental floss. Thus, the product known as GLIDE was born and first sold to the public in 1992, later catching the attention of Procter & Gamble, who acquired it in 2003.

Widespread Use and Risks:
PFAS are not only in dental floss but are also prevalent in many consumer products such as:

· Non-stick pans and other cookware

· Microwave popcorn bags and other processed food packaging

· Waterproof and stain-resistant clothing

· Personal care items such as nail polish and hair styling tools

The health implications of PFAS are profound and concerning. They have been linked to a variety of health problems in both laboratory studies and observed human conditions. These include:

· Tumors in laboratory animals

· Reproductive and developmental issues

· Liver and kidney damage

· Immune system disruptions

· Higher risks of ulcerative colitis, kidney, and testicular cancers in humans

· Neurological issues, including potential links to Alzheimer’s disease

· Disruption of thyroid functions and impacts on growth and sex hormones in children

Study Findings on Dental Floss:
The study specifically investigated the presence of PFAS in dental floss, revealing that products such as Oral-B Glide are made with PTFE, a PFAS compound. Women who used this type of floss had notably higher levels of PFAS in their systems. Further chemical analysis of 18 different types of dental floss identified several others with similar chemical markers, indicating widespread use of PFAS in these products.

Recommendations for Safer Flossing:
For those looking to reduce their exposure to these harmful chemicals, consider opting for dental floss made from alternative materials such as silk, nylon, or polyester. These materials have not shown the same toxic effects and can be safer choices for maintaining oral hygiene without compromising overall health.

Choosing Healthier Products:
When selecting floss, it is not just the fiber that matters but also the coating. Waxes derived from natural sources like coconut oil or beeswax are preferable over petroleum-based coatings, which may carry additional health risks. Additionally, it is wise to avoid floss with synthetic fragrances or flavors, as these can also introduce unwanted chemicals into the body.

Taking Action for Healthier Choices:
This information is not just a call to action but an invitation to rethink our daily choices. By choosing safer, non-toxic products, we can significantly reduce our chemical exposure and protect our overall health. Let us continue to empower ourselves with knowledge and make informed decisions that support our holistic health goals.

Floss Brands and PTFE Content:
This discussion is further enriched by a detailed list of dental floss brands, some verified by the respective companies for their content of PTFE. This list provides essential transparency, helping consumers make informed decisions aligned with their health priorities. It is crucial in choosing products that best support our oral and overall health.

***LIST UPDATE 04/27/2024***


Butler GUM - Eez thru-verified by contacting manufacturer

Butler GUM Comfort Slide Floss - verified by contacting the manufacturer

CVS Health Ease Between Super Slip Dental Floss/Waxed - verified by study

CREST/ORAL-B GLIDE Pro-Health/Mint - verified by study, company refuses to provide verification

GLIDE Pro-Health Original - verified by study, company refuses to provide verification

CREST/ORAL-B GLIDE Deep Cool Mint Floss - verified by study, company refuses to provide verification

Safeway Signature Care Mint Waxed Comfort Floss - verified by study

COLGATE TOTAL Dental Floss/Mint- verified by study

QUIP: String: PTFE, natural mint flavor, vegan, refillable dispenser

CREST/ORAL-B SATIN FLOSS: UNFLAVORED- PTFE fiber, nylon, peabax, microcrystalline wax, mineral oil, and BHT

PLACKERS: Gentle Slide flosser- contains PTFE

PTFE-FREE FLOSS BRANDS, brands to consider

BITE - plastic-free, Vegan, Unflavored, Refillable and compostable

BOKA - all-natural, vegetable wax, mint flavor

BURST: Mint Eucalyptus: microcrystalline wax, aroma, charcoal powder, limonene, xylitol, sucralose, linalool, eugenol

BURST: Juniper Berry: microcrystalline wax, charcoal powder, maltodextrin, aroma, Juniperus communis fruit oil, cyclodextrin, citric acid, xylitol, sucralose, potassium sorbate, limonene.

BUTLER GUM Pro-Clean Flossers - nylon, natural spearmint oil

COCOFLOSS, Delicious Mint/Unflavored - Interwoven, textured polyester fibers, coconut oil, natural essential oils, vegan wax; other flavors contains propylene glycol, alcohol and sucralose

DENTAL LACE - biodegradable silk, candelilla wax, reusable glass vial, recyclable packaging

DESSERT ESSENCE TEA TREE OIL FLOSS - beeswax, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, spearmint oil

Dr TUNGS - natural cardamom flavor, vegetable/beeswax blend, polyester fibers, biodegradable container; GMO free

ECO ROOTS: Bamboo- Bamboo fiber, candelilla wax, peppermint oil, tea tree oil

FlosSeas Flossers - nylon fibers, plastic handle

FLOSSPOT: Flosspot - silk worm silk, candelilla wax, refillable glass jar

FLOSSPOT: Flosspot Gold - silk from corn husks, candelilla wax, ginger-mint flavor, refillable stainless-steel jar.

HELLO: Peppermint - peppermint and coconut oil infused textured nylon floss, vegan candelilla wax, Yakima Valley spearmint

HELLO: Charcoal - bamboo charcoal infused textured nylon floss, vegan candelilla wax, xylitol, Willamette Valley peppermint

KEEKO - coconut oil, bean wax, natural coconut flavor, recyclable plastic, nylon floss

LISTERINE/JOHNSON & JOHNSON - company refused to provide ingredients, but stated that there was no PTFE

LUCKY TEETH - organic silk floss, plant wax, peppermint and tea tree oil, no fluoride, biodegradable

MOTHER EARTH- bamboo charcoal fiber, candelilla wax, peppermint oil; biodegradable

NUDGE- silk, candelilla wax

PLACKERS: Mint- Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight-Polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, sucralose, food grade PEG

POH: Classic 490/white - multi-filament strands of nylon; available in no wax or lite wax

POH: Percept 630/black - multi-filament strands of nylon; available in no wax or lite wax

POH: Percept 420/black- multi-filament strands of nylon; available in no wax or lite wax

PUBLIC GOODS - silk, natural candelilla wax, peppermint, biodegradable floss, glass bottle

RADIUS, Pure Silk, Unscented: natural silk thread, organic carnauba wax

RADIUS: Natural Biodegradable Silk Anywhere Floss - natural silk, organic carnauba wax

RADIUS: Vegan Sponge Floss - virgin coconut oil, carnauba wax, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, erythritol, nylon

CREST/ORAL-B Satin Floss: MINT - verified by company; ingredients: polyamide polymer(nylon), polyether-polyamide block copolymer, mint flavor, microcrystalline wax, mineral oil, BHT

STRAW WHEAT FLOSS PICKS- gluten free straw, PLA from sugar cane and corn, mint oil, candelilla wax; biodegradable

CREST/ORAL-B SuperFloss - cotton/nylon threads coated in wax, wax coated floss

THRIVE: Gentle Expanding Floss - expandable nylon floss, coconut oil, carnauba wax, organic mint, erythritol, tea tree oil

THRIVE: Activated charcoal floss - nylon, candelilla wax, coconut oil, peppermint, menthol, xylitol, activated charcoal powder

TREE BIRD- silk, candelilla wax, mint essential oil

TOM'S - nylon, beeswax, carnauba wax, natural spearmint, jojoba wax, acacia Senegal gum, myrrh, propolis cera

This comprehensive list ensures that you can make choices that align with your health and environmental concerns, helping to support a healthier lifestyle.

Let us stay informed and proactive in our health practices!