Advanced + Family Dentistry - February 2019


February 2019




On Jan. 9, the New York Post reported a recent study linking Oral-B Glide dental floss to toxic perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology this month, the study initially aimed to identify behavior and products that could result in elevated body levels of PFAS. PFAS are chemicals used in a wide range of consumer products, from fast-food packaging to nonstick pans, waterproof clothing, and even stain-resistant fabrics and carpets. PFAS chemicals have been linked to health problems including cancers, thyroid disease, low birth weights, and high cholesterol, and they negatively affect the immune system. 178 women were used for the study. Blood samples were compared against self-reported use of a wide array of consumer products and foods. The study concluded that the women who reported using a certain brand of dental floss — in this case, Glide and store-brand equivalents — tended to have higher levels of perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) than women who used other brands. The study then tested 18 dental flosses, including three Glide products, for the presence of fluorine, which this study used as a marker of PFAS. All three Glide products tested positive for fluorine, consistent with previous reports that Glide is manufactured using Teflon-like compounds. According to the ADA Science Institute, one of the major shortfalls of this study is that fluorine was used as a marker of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), though the women in the study were found to have elevated levels of PFHxS. Furthermore, no link relating the PTFE contained in certain types of floss has been correlated to the PFHxS elevations found in the women. The ADA Science Institute also pointed out that PTFE is commonly used in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries for products.

A representative for Procter & Gamble, which manufactures Glide products, commented to the New York Post: “The safety of the people who use our products is our No. 1 priority. Our dental floss undergoes thorough safety testing, and we stand by the safety of all our products.” Furthermore, the ADA reports that they see no cause for concern based on current evidence. Above all, they continue to

encourage people to clean between their teeth daily with floss or other interdental cleaner as part of the ADA’s daily oral-hygiene recommendations. With this story breaking in the past few weeks, I hope you find the above information useful to form your own opinion. Our office will continue to stock and supply Colgate total floss, which was not found to contribute to the toxic chemicals noted in the study. Whatever floss you prefer, I want you to know that you can use it confidently as a part of your daily hygiene — so don’t forget to brush, floss, and smile. Please pass this information on to family or friends who might find it useful!

–Dr. Parth Patel

770-932-4240 • 1

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