Most of us think of dental floss as one of those relatively insignificant bathroom products. A forgotten toothbrush on a trip is always replaced; forgotten floss can wait until we get home. But the bottom line is that flossing can extend your life and improve your gum health-yes it can! Brushing your teeth without flossing is like cleaning 70% of your body. Everyone should be flossing-if you have teeth you should floss.
The amount of dental floss sold in the US each year could span the distance from the earth to the moon and back four times! As a result, the production and disposal of dental floss have a tremendous impact on the environment.
The dangers in dental floss?
- Petroleum-Most dental floss is made from nylon, which is a petroleum based product. Nylon, like most petroleum products, has a very slow decay rate and will sit in landfills for a long time before decomposing. It shouldn’t be flushed down your toilet-it could cause a blockage in the sewer pipes.
- Teflon-Most floss is coated with a type of Teflon-yes, think non-stick cookware-called PTFE. The EPA has found these coatings to be highly toxic-causing all sorts of health issues including various forms of cancer.
- More petroleum-Waxed floss is generally coated with petroleum based synthetic wax.
- The containers that house the floss are also petroleum based-plastic.
Safer solutions-natural dental floss
- Lessen your impact by choosing floss that is not coated with petroleum derived products
- Use less floss
- Reuse your floss-not so sure about this one.
- Find brands without PTFE-Teflon
- Choose floss coated with a natural wax or no wax
- Look for minimal or recyclable packaging
Here are some natural brands to check out:
- Toms of Maine Spearmint Floss-a nylon floss with a natural wax coating. I use this and really like it.
- Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Waxed Dental Floss Tape-a naturally waxed floss that contains no alcohol or artificial detergents, colors or synthetic perfumes and no animal ingredients or testing.
- Eco-Dent Natural Dental Care, Gentle Floss –no petro-wax used and eco-friendly floss packaging.
- RADIUS Natural Silk Floss, Waxed, Round, Waxed, Cranberry, 55-Yards (Pack of 6)–pure, natural organic silk that is naturally biodegradable. Silk is frowned upon by many animal rights activists.
Remember you don’t have to floss all your teeth-just the ones you want to keep!
Have you tried any of the natural brands?
Disclosure: If you order floss through the Amazon links I will receive a few pennies. Thank you!