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Best Dental Floss – Non-Toxic & PFAS-Free Options

We all know the importance of flossing twice a day, but many of us slack in the flossing department. Less than 50% of US adults floss daily [1] (believe me, I’m not perfect at it either). But did you know that dental floss commonly contains PFAS and other potentially harmful chemicals? Luckily, there are many healthier options out there, so what are the best non-toxic dental floss brands that are PFAS-free and sustainable?

Keep reading to learn more about the nitty-gritty of the best non-toxic floss brands!

PFAS-Free Floss

Note: This article contains affiliate links, meaning In On Around will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me maintain the site. As always, I value full transparency & only work with brands I love and trust.

Summary: 

  • Many common floss brands use non-stick coatings with Teflon – this can cause health issues + it’s a forever chemical. Instead, swap to floss that’s silk or corn-based PLA with natural wax. 
  • Best Brands = Radius, Wellnesse, Dental Lace

Table of Contents

Why Is It Important To Floss?

Sure, flossing every day can be a chore (I mean… who really likes doing it?!), but why is it really important?

Regular flossing is essential for maintaining optimal oral health as it removes plaque and food particles nestled between teeth and along the gumline. Neglecting this step can lead to the accumulation of plaque, a primary contributor to tooth decay and gum disease. In addition to preventing oral health issues, consistent flossing is effective in eliminating bacteria that cause bad breath in hard-to-reach areas. 

Some studies suggest that maintaining good oral health through practices like regular flossing may contribute to a reduced risk of certain conditions, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular issues. [4, 5, 6, 7]

For other dental hygiene tips, check out: Coconut Oil Pulling For Cavities – Does It Work?

Women who use Oral-B Glide dental floss had higher levels of PFAS in their blood. [2, 3]

The Different Types Of Floss

Of course, flossing is important for your dental hygiene, but what most people overlook is the type of floss that they’re using. That is equally as important.

  1. Nylon Dental Floss (Plastic):
    • Nylon floss is a traditional, multifilament floss that is composed of several strands of nylon. It is strong, flexible, and comes in various thicknesses. Nylon, however, is plastic derived and made from petroleum.
  2. PTFE Dental Floss (Teflon):
    • PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) floss, also known as Teflon floss, is a monofilament floss that slides easily between teeth. The chemical coating is what makes it “non-stick.”
  3. Waxed Dental Floss:
    • Waxed floss is coated with a thin layer of wax, making it easier to slide between teeth and preventing it from fraying. This type of floss is particularly helpful for individuals with tightly spaced teeth.
  4. Unwaxed Dental Floss:
    • Unwaxed floss is made of nylon or Teflon but lacks the wax coating. It is a thinner option and may be suitable for people with more space between their teeth, as it can be more prone to catching on tight contact points.

 

Floss can also be designed to be flavored with artificial flavorings, which is completely unnecessary. Oftentimes brands won’t disclose what ingredients are used in these flavorings.

Dental tape, a flat alternative, is ideal for individuals with broader gaps between their teeth, whereas gentle or soft floss is recommended for those with sensitive gums.

Fun flossing hack: If you have a hard time remembering to floss, put your floss in the shower! Keep the floss container dry, but this can help to remind you to floss while showering. Yes, it sounds weird… but it will lead to habit stacking. Plus, it can give you a couple of extra minutes in the shower under warm water… who doesn’t like that?!

Why Should You Care About Dental Floss Materials?

Typically, dental floss is made of synthetic waxed nylon. Oftentimes, the wax is petroleum-based. In fact, nylon was discovered by DuPont, which is the same company that created the non-stick coating on cookware known as Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene). This chemical is commonly used in floss. 

(P.S. If you’re looking for Teflon-free cookware, check out this article: Ceramic vs Stainless Steel Cookware – Non-Toxic Guide). 

Dental floss can also contain other per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), which create a fluoropolymer coating to make the floss glossier. While PFAS or glossy finish can help the floss slide between the teeth, it can lead to a host of potential negative health impacts, such as an increased risk of cancer, endocrine disruption, weight gain, and more. [8, 9]

To learn more about the impacts of PFAS, check out this article: Per/Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) – What Are Forever Chemicals & How Do We Avoid Them?

What To Look For & Avoid In Dental Floss

Look for the following when shopping for dental floss:

  • Silk-based or corn-based PLA floss
    • This would also be the best option for the environment since it’s biodegradable and completely plastic-free (depending on the packaging used)
  • Natural wax, like beeswax or candelilla, or coconut oil
  • Even better (for the environment): biodegradable, refillable, or plastic-free packaging

Look for the following when shopping for dental floss:

  • All PTFE floss
  • Recycled polyester or nylon
  • Nylon, even if it’s coated with “natural” wax
  • Anything petroleum-based
  • Artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Avoid products that say “non-stick” or “glides easily”
  • Any brands with added fluoride – you can learn more about fluoride here: The Pros And Cons Of Fluoride In Toothpaste
  • Some people prefer to avoid hydroxyapatite, but we love it as long as it’s non-nano.

 

We prefer to use caution around charcoal dental products… not because of the ingredient, per se, but because charcoal can be very abrasive to tooth enamel. It’s been shown to erode tooth enamel over time. [10]

PFAS have been found in the blood of over 98% of Americans. [11, 12]

Top Picks

Best Non-Toxic Floss Options Without PFAS

We scoured these brand sites and reached out to each company for additional information.

Note: many of these brands have multiple floss options made of different materials, so before purchasing double check the material/ingredient list.  This list is based off materials & ingredients – not the thickness or appearance of each type of floss. Some people will prefer thinner floss, while others prefer thicker – so I recommend researching which of the below options would best suit your individual preferences.

  • Made of pure silk and carnauba wax
  • Their flavored options contain erythritol, which I prefer to avoid.
  • They also offer travel-sized floss packs
  • Their thicker vegan sponge floss has mixed reviews claiming it breaks easier
  • They did not share their 3rd party report, but they confirmed their products are PFAS-free and fluoride-free.

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  • Made of 100% natural silk, candelilla wax, and essential peppermint oil
  • I have personally tried this product and I like it!
  • It can break between teeth that are very close together
  • They did not share testing results but did confirm that floss and floss picks are free of PFAS or elemental fluoride
  • Made of mulberry silk floss, candelilla wax, and mint flavoring
  • Claims to be free of PFAS, parabens, and plastic
  • Available in both corn fiber or mulberry silk
  • Reviews claim is frayed easily
  • They did not share their 3rd party report, but they claim to be PFAS-free.
  • Made of pure silk, candelilla wax, and mint essential oil
  • They did not respond to my inquiry for test report information.
  • Made of silk, beeswax coating, natural mint flavoring (derived from spearmint oil, corn mint oil, and menthol)
  • They did not respond to my inquiry for test report information.
  • Made of corn PLA (polylactic acid), organic vegetable wax, and spearmint oil
  • Fully plastic-free
  • They don’t have 3rd party tests to share, but they did said they would contact their contract manufacturer to get more information. After about a month, they responded confirming that their suppliers do not use fluorine or PFAS.
  • Made of 100% plant-based PLA (polylactic acid) and candelilla wax
  • Claims to be free of PFAS
  • They did not share 3rd party test results. From their support team: “Our Floss does not contain PFAS, however, our tablets are made in a laboratory that also produces other tablets and because of this, we cannot guarantee another company does not use PFAS in their formulas.”
Flossing vs. Water Pik
Okay Picks

Better Floss Options

These brands are great options, however, they use nylon, which is petroleum-derived, or they contain other additives (like natural flavors) that some people prefer to avoid. If you have teeth that are very close together, nylon floss can be a better option since silk floss is more likely to break.

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  • Made with vegan wax, hydroxyapatite, spearmint oil, xylitol, stevia, polyester filament
  • Some people say it frays
  • I prefer limiting stevia whenever possible – you can learn more about stevia here: Is Stevia Safe During Pregnancy… Or At All?
  • This was the ONLY company to share their 3rd party test reports with me! They sent two reports from 2022, both showing below detectable PFAS. Kudos to Risewell for being transparent.
  • Advertise as being free of PFAS and PTFE
  • Contains natural cardamom flavor (some people prefer to avoid natural flavors) and a beeswax coating
  • Made of nylon (petroleum-derived)
  • This option is the closest swap you will find to conventional brands like Oral-B
  • They did not share their 3rd party report, but claim to be PFAS-free and have done testing in labs both in the USA and Europe. They offered to share the results if I signed a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Markets themselves as a “luxury” dental floss brand with a wide variety of flavors
  • Uses OEKO-TEX Standard 100 polyester threads
  • Made of recycled polyester, coconut oil, and essential oils
  • Very difficult to find the full ingredient list for most flavors on their side, aside from Mint
  • They use a mix of synthetic and natural ingredients. Their mint variety uses all natural fragrance from spearmint oil, cornmint oil, anise camphor, and menthol.
  • They did not share their 3rd party report, but claim to be PFAS-free.
  • Made of activated charcoal bamboo fiber, vegan candelilla wax, organic extra virgin coconut oil, peppermint oil, spearmint essential oil
  • They also offer travel-sized floss packs
  • Advertises to be PFAS-free
  • Since they contain charcoal, it can be more abrasive on your tooth enamel (otherwise they’d be in the “best” category)
  • They did not respond to my inquiry for test report information.
  • Made of organic bamboo fiber with activated charcoal, candelilla plant vegan wax, biodegradable polymer, organic peppermint oil, organic tea tree oil.
  • Since they contain charcoal, it can be more abrasive on your tooth enamel (otherwise they’d be in the “best” category)
  • They did not respond to my inquiry for test report information.
  • Available in stores
  • Made of: nylon with beeswax, tea tree leaf oil, peppermint oil, spearmint oil
  • I’ve personally tried this product and from my experience, it doesn’t fray
  • Tea tree oil offers additional antimicrobial properties
  • They responded to my inquiry about a month later, confirming that they do not contain PFA’s. They refused to share any testing data.
  • Nylon coated with vegetable wax (Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Hydrogenated Rosinate, and Ricinus Communis Seed Oil)
  • Mint flavor aroma is made from Limonene and Linalool, and spicy cinnamon flavor.
  • They did not share their 3rd party report, but claim to be PFAS-free and fully petroleum-free.
  • Made of nylon, but coated with beeswax, carnauba wax, and jojoba wax.
  • It’s free of artificial sweeteners, colorants, preservatives, and flavoring
  • Owned by Colgate-Palmolive
  • They did not respond to my inquiry for test report information.
Okay Picks - For Flossers

Better Non-Toxic Flossers Without PFAS

It’s tough to find a “perfect” floss pick brand, but here are the better options available:

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  • These are made from 100% corn starch handles and UHMWPE thread (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene)
  • They don’t use silk floss or corn PLA
  • Pick handles are made from 53% plant-based material and 47% polypropylene. The thread is made of Polyethylene (petroleum-based)
  • Claims to be PFAS-free
  • Doesn’t disclose ingredients used to create mint flavor
  • They did not respond to my inquiry for test report information.
  • Made of USDA BioBased Straw Wheat, PLA (bio-polymer), Nylon-4
  • They also have a colorful option for kids
  • Claims to be PFAS-free
  • They did not respond to my inquiry for test report information.
Avoid These If Possible

Worst Floss Options

These brands of dental floss may contain PFAS or they don’t meet our quality standards: [13]

  • Oral-B
  • Crest
  • Safeway Signature
  • Colgate
  • CVS Health
  • GUM Eez-Thru (has non-stick coating)
  • Up & Up (from Target)
  • Hello (doesn’t disclose full materials list)
  • Thrive Market Organic Gentle Tape Floss (contains erythritol)
  • Young Living (they’re an multi-level marketing company)
  • Grin (they use PTFE – the company confirmed)
 

Huppy, Public Goods, and Beautiful Mind Floss Picks don’t have clear and complete ingredient/materials lists on their website (that I could find). Huppy and Public Goods, however, did confirm that they’re PFAS-free, but did not share testing results. EcoDent doesn’t specify the type of material used for their floss threads.

Using the “worst” type of floss is still better than not flossing at all. It’s best to floss every day if you can.

Other Dental Cleaning Options

  • Water flossers, like BURST or WaterPik – this can be a great addition to your dental routine, however it doesn’t replace flossing. It’s a supplement, not a replacement for real floss.
  • Interdental brushes – small brushes that can squeeze between your teeth!

Final Thoughts PFAS-Free Floss

Not all dental floss is considered “non-toxic,” but you can find plenty of brands out there that are completely toxin-free. If you’re curious about another dental floss brand, I recommend that you consider the information from this article and reach out to the manufacturer for more information on their product. Ask them for the level of fluorine in their product (which is an indicator of PFAS) and if they can share their 3rd party test report with you.

What kind of dental floss do you use?

Let me know your thoughts and key takeaways in the comments below!

xoxo,

In On Around Signature

Copyright In On Around LLC 2024 ©. The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided by this website should not be used as individual medical advice and you should always consult your doctor for individual recommendations and treatment. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis. Related to this site, there are no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness, or timeliness. In On Around LLC assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site.

About Catherine Power

Catherine Power is the Founder and CEO of In On Around. She is a Harvard-educated Ingredient Safety and Environmental Toxins expert. Catherine has a background in Food Science, Personal Care Quality, and Regulatory Compliance.

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