The next time your dentist asks if you’ve been flossing, you can say no with confidence… Or at least when it comes to flossing with Oral-B’s Glide range.
According to a study by Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts and Public Health Institute in California, products in Oral-B’s Glide line have been found to contain PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).
What in the world are PFAS, you ask? As per the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website, PFAS are man-made chemicals that “don’t break down [and] can accumulate over time,” and can be found in household items like food packaging, fire-fighting foam, stain- and water-repellent fabrics, paints and more. Studies have shown that exposure to PFAS are linked to negative health effects, such as high cholesterol, thyroid disease, decreased fertility and kidney and testicular cancer.
The study, which explored the potential links between daily habits—such as flossing—and the presence and effects of PFAS, enlisted the help of 178 middle-aged women. Researchers obtained blood samples from the women and found that those who flossed with Oral-B Glide products, as well as imitation products of the Glide line, showed higher traces of the chemical in the blood.
Those who flossed with Oral-B Glide products, as well as imitation products of the Glide line, showed higher traces of the chemical in the blood.
“This is the first study to show that using dental floss containing PFAS is associated with a higher body burden of these toxic chemicals,” said Katie Boronow, lead staff scientist of the study. “Restricting these chemicals from products should be a priority to reduce levels in people’s bodies.”
In total, researchers tested 18 different types of dental floss, including three Glide products. All three Glide flosses tested positive for the chemical, as well as two floss products that featured “compare to Oral-B Glide” labels, and one floss that described itself as a “single strand Teflon fibre.”
In a statement given to the New York Post, a rep from Procter & Gamble (Oral-B’s parent company) said: “Our dental floss undergoes thorough safety testing and we stand by the safety of all our products.” However, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution for now and avoid Glide floss until more information is made available.
Of course you won’t be able to get away with stopping flossing altogether. “The good news is, based on our findings, consumers can choose flosses that don’t contain PFAS,” Boronow said. So floss on and flash those pearly whites.
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