The dentist. That dreaded bi-annual appointment of plaque scraping, being prodded in the gums with sharp metal utensils and that question you know is coming. “Have you been flossing?” They even put you in a chair, under a bright light so you’re feeling extra scrutinised when the interrogation over your dental hygiene habits begins.
Now no one likes being guilted by their dentist for not flossing, but for some, it’s a super important part of their dental hygiene routine. Even still, it appears to be a topic that divides many. Should we be flossing? I’m sure if you asked your friends and family whether they floss, you would hear a resounding chorus of crickets. Only 31% of people say they clean between their teeth on a typical day and 3 in 10 Brits admit to brushing their teeth just once a day; it’s no wonder we have a bad reputation for poor smiles. There’s just little chance people will take up flossing too, so why do dentists always recommend it?
Scientific research appears to be on the fence with flossing; but most dentists agree that it can help remove plaque, food build-up between the teeth, reduce the risk of gingivitis, gum disease, and reduce the risk of tooth decay.Interestingly, something both dentists and scientists seem to agree on, is the cleaning of between your teeth, which is where Interdental brushes come in.
For me personally, I never bothered for most of my life and never seemed to have major issues with my teeth. That was until my wisdom teeth came in and an overcrowded mouth has caused all sorts of issues. This combined with my love of popcorn has meant a constant need to floss. I use interdental brushes (where they fit), but otherwise I always keep some floss close to hand, to stop me squirrelling away meals for later.
So how does floss fit in with a zero waste lifestyle?
Traditional floss has often been made from petroleum-based plastic and nylon. As with most plastics, they end up in landfill or polluting our oceans and likely strangling some poor sea animal.
It’s also often coated in highly toxic substances called PFAS’s (also used to make Teflon), which are not only responsible for some of the most potent greenhouse gas emissions but extremely dangerous to your health as well. Now imagine pulling it through your gums and exposing it to your bloodstream.
It’s time we get picky about how we pick our teeth!
Sustainable floss can be a difficult sustainable swap to make as there are very few truly zero waste dental floss brands on the market. One of the earliest alternatives available was silk, but the production process typically involves boiling silkworms alive in their cocoon, which rules them out as a Vegan or Cruelty Free option.
When shopping for an Eco-friendly floss or teeth cleaning products, we recommend using those that are Cruelty-free, Vegan, Non-Toxic, Palm-oil free and ethically sourced using recyclable, or ideally compostable, packaging.
Looking to achieve a sustainable smile?
Why not take a look at the Dental range available in the Forever and Green store.
Should you floss or not? Study says benefits unproven, 3 August 2016: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36962667
Why should I use interdental brushes?, NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/dental-health/why-should-i-use-interdental-brushes/
Why should I use dental floss?, NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/dental-health/why-should-i-use-dental-floss/