Research

Flossing May Actually Be Bad For Your Oral Health – Research Shows

The developments in medical science are the reason the world you live in today is better in terms of health. Not only are there not more treatment options but many of the past diseases no longer are life-threatening. You also have a choice to look up your symptoms on time and visit your doctor.

In fact, this is a combination of research, better healthcare facilities, and technological advancements in general. Various studies still continue to work to find a solution to the new challenges of today’s age.

For example, flossing is a popular act around the world. The main reasoning behind it is that it protects the health of the teeth and gums by removing the trapped food particles and tartar. As a result, you can have fewer chances of tooth decay and a better overall appearance.

Is this really true? Some research from the past concluded that flossing does not work. But there was little evidence on the subject. Now, a new study claims that flossing may, in fact, increase the chances of exposure to certain chemicals known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Researchers from the Silent Spring Institute and the Public Health Institute in Berkeley, CA, conducted this research and published their findings in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology.

Read the research here.

How Was the Research Conducted?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are now a common part of daily life. These usually travel to the human body through the use of containers and fast food packaging. Data present on chemical shows that they are everywhere from your frozen food packs to your daily takeouts.

The most concerning thing about these substances is that they do not breakdown in the human body once they enter. Research links them testicular and kidney cancer, high cholesterol, and thyroid disorders.

The new research’s original claim was to see whether this chemical had any connection with the common human behaviors. For this purpose, the scientist recruited 178 middle-aged women. These women were also previously part of  Child Health and Development Studies, during the years 1959-1967.

Blood samples collected from these women between the years 2010-2013. Up to 11 different types of PFAS were studies.

Then, these women were questioned about their exposure to the chemicals in 2015-2016 and about their behaviors that could be linked to PFAS.

For example, contact with stain-resistant furniture and carpets, food consumption, and dental flossing. Other factors like contamination of water in the areas where the women resided were also considered.

What Did the Research Find?

Perhaps the most shocking discovery by the researchers was that dental flossing led to increased levels of PFAS. This was also confirmed later by checking 18 different flosses for the presence of fluorine. Both glide and non-glide flosses had PFAS.

Furthermore, many of the women who used certain brands had elevated levels of both PFHxS and PFAS in their blood. Some other things the researchers noted were that women living in areas with contaminated water also had higher exposure to the chemicals.

In a similar way, buying foods with certain packaging and having more takeouts also increased the chances. The good news, according to the researchers, is that people can reduce the effects of dental floss by using safer and more trustworthy brands. The lead author Katie Boronow concludes by saying:

“This is the first study to show that using dental floss containing PFAS is associated with a higher body burden of these toxic chemicals. The good news is, based on our findings, consumers can choose flosses that don’t contain PFAS.”

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