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Can You Flush Dental Floss Down the Toilet? (Never Do it)

Can You Flush Dental Floss Down the Toilet? (Never Do it)

Flossing is an essential oral hygiene practice; it removes and cleans any food that is stuck in between your teeth, thus reducing bacteria in your mouth. Meanwhile, plaque flossing also limits the chances of plaque building up, which can result in gum diseases or even worse, gingivitis. 

Many people indeed brush their teeth every day, but they don’t floss it regularly, which is why most people stand the chance of contracting mouth diseases. According to a report, 40 percent of Americans floss their teeth, at least every day, while 2 in 10 never floss their teeth at all. 

But it is not just enough to floss your teeth; you need to floss appropriately. Wrongly flossing your teeth can damage your gums and even teeth. So make sure you know how to floss your teeth before you start the process correctly. However, there is a primary concern we want to dwell on today – can you flush dental floss down the toilet after use? Let’s find out. 

Is It Okay to Flush Dental Floss?

No, it would be best if you did not flush dental floss down the toilet because it cannot break down, and can result in toilet clogs. Additionally, flushing dental floss down the toilet can also lead to severe environmental damage. Usually, when dental floss goes down the toilet, it wraps around materials, such as hair, toilet paper, wipes, which can affect the piping system. 

Dental floss features nylon or Teflon, which are not biodegradable. It is because of this that dental floss does not break down. When it doesn’t break down, the chances are that it will clog your toilet and complicate issues in your drain. So next time you use dental floss, kindly don’t flush it down the toilet; instead, take it to your bin. 

Why Should You Never Flush Dental Floss Down the Toilet?

Toilets serve us well by taking care of our waste, but they aren’t an option to dispose of items not meant to go down the drain. That means, letting specific items, such as dental floss, baby wipes, diapers, etc., can clog your drain and lead to severe environmental damage.  

According to American Water, water pipes measure just 4 inches in diameter, which is very small. This means that flushing items not meant to go down the drain will no doubt lead to clogging of your toilet or lead to serious plumbing problems. 

And hiring a professional plumber to check through your drain and stop the clogging is not cheap either; it would probably cost you hundreds of dollars. Therefore, try to minimize the chances of clogging your toilet by not flushing what’s not meant to go down the toilet. 

Dental floss is not acceptable to flush down the toilet. They don’t break down, which is why they can easily clog your toilet, and even worse, cause serious environmental and plumbing problems in general. 

As said earlier, home toilets are meant to serve us well by taking care of our waste, so you shouldn’t use it as a trash can. Flushing down foreign items down the toilet can cause problems at water treatment plants. Even worse, these items can merge with fat, oils, and waste to form fatbergs. 

In some reports, water treatment plant professionals have confirmed that they have got even traces of baseballs, underwear and some other least expected items. This is an indication that people flush more than just dental floss, which is a bad practice. 

It’s usually way easy to floss your teeth at night and probably because you are dizzy, throwing it in your toilet can be very easy. However, plumbers have confirmed that unclogging toilets clogged as a result of dental floss are a nightmare. That means no plumber will charge you peanuts to unclog your toilet when it finally gets clogged as a result of dental floss. 

How Long Does It Take Dental Floss to Decompose?

It takes between 200 and 1000 years for dental floss to decompose. According to a report, dental floss consists of nylon, which can take up to 200 years to decompose. The plastic in which the dental floss is wrapped will take another 500 to 1000 years to decompose. 

On the contrary, silk floss is biodegradable in less than two years and compostable. However, you will need to boil silkworms alive if you want to create silk. This is a little bit unfair to the little creatures, but the fact remains that silk floss is way better than traditional floss. 

Are Dental Floss Biodegradable?

NO, dental floss takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. Even worse, dental floss can’t be recycled, which adds more salt to the injury. Dental floss is also made of specific chemicals, so it makes it easier for them to slide in between the teeth.

Some studies have noted that some dental floss companies include too many chemicals, such as PFAS. PFAS has been linked to some of the worst health problems, such as cancer, abnormal weight gain, infertility, and high cholesterol levels.

Is Dental Floss Recyclable?

Dental floss is Not recyclable, as mentioned earlier. Even worse, dental floss packaging can also lead to serious environmental problems when it piles up in landfills. Despite the popularity of dental floss as a tool to help with dental hygiene, the effective way to dispose of it hasn’t been realized to date. 

You can recycle nylon, but you can’t recycle dental floss because dental floss is made up of different materials that can’t undergo recycling procedures. Also, recycling dental floss would be too costly for recycling companies to consider at any given time. Even more, dental floss can also stick around the recycling machine and lead to damage. 

And since dental floss can’t be recycled, a ton of people are now exploring other alternatives to make good use of their dental floss. Some people recommend that you wash and reuse your dental floss, though it is not the right approach.

Dental floss once used will contain bacteria and washing may not clear away all the bacteria. Additionally, dental floss is designed to use only once, so the chances are that the fibers will become less effective when used more than once. 

But what about dental floss picks – are they by any chance better than the regular dental floss? Well, dental floss picks aren’t better than traditional dental floss and even take more time to decompose. They can be recycled, though, but most recycling companies wouldn’t want to take a risk because they pose the same risks as regular dental floss would. 

In summary, dental floss can’t be recycled. When you use dental floss to collect food particles in between your teeth, bacteria are released, and it is this bacteria that makes it even more concerning to recycle and reuse your dental floss. 

women smiling with dental floss
Source: Canva

How Do You Dispose of Dental Floss?

It would be best if you disposed of dental floss, dental picks, flossers, and dental containers into a bin or black cart. Dental floss is non-biodegradable and can cause severe effects in the oceans. And like any other plastic, dental floss can suffocate marine life or get into their stomach, lasts for several years, causing health issues to marine life. This is why you should be extra careful with what you let down your drain. They could easily cause serious environmental problems and even endanger the entire ecosystem. 

Additionally, waxed nylon usually comes in a variety of flavors. Of course, there are pros to the fact that it comes in a variety of flavors, but there are way more cons. Waxed dental floss is stick-resistant and can stain. This makes it even more dangerous to the environment. 

Even worse, dental floss includes too many chemicals, which consist of the PFCs. PFCs are indeed used in the manufacture of different items, such as furniture, clothes, and cookware, among other things.

However, PFCs have been proven to be the cause of various health issues and have consistently been put in the spotlight by different research studies. Even though there is still not enough evidence to support all these claims, scientists are now confirming that PFCs are way more dangerous than they thought. 

Fortunately, some alternatives are more environment-friendly. Today, you can find a ton of dental floss made from different materials. One of the most common options to the traditional floss is silk floss. Silk floss is plastic-free, natural and made from live boiled silkworms. Additionally, you won’t require plenty of water to use, like when using traditional dental floss. Also, silk floss is biodegradable, which makes it an excellent alternative to traditional floss that is non-biodegradable. 

Many silk flosses are made from Candelilla wax, which is plant-based instead of adding dangerous PFCs. Being the manufacturers have the environment in mind; these dental hygiene items come in reusable glass containers. This means that you can always order just a new spindle instead of ordering a new package every time you need silk floss.

Also, the glass bottles that come with these look very lovely on shelves, and we bet you will also love it. However, silk floss isn’t perfect; they are weaker, and not even a vegan floss. Even worse, they are way more expensive than regular dental floss. 

9 Alternatives Uses of Dental Floss

There are many other uses of dental floss apart from being used for dental hygiene. These items are made from either Teflon or nylon, thus are very strong. Additionally, dental floss will rarely break, which is why it can serve other various purposes, too. Below are some of the alternative uses of dental floss. 

1. Helps With Sewing 

At one point in time, you will have some problems with sewing either in your home or at your business. If you didn’t know, dental floss could help you sew rather than getting a sewing machine, which may cost you an arm and a leg. 

Dental floss is strong enough and can help you sew, no matter what fabric you are using. Additionally, its strong nature makes it perfect sewing equipment because it also holds buttons in place, temporarily serving as your handbag strap. 

2. To Cut Through Food

Yes, you can use dental floss to cut through your birthday cake. If you are known for partying or will host a lot of celebration events in your home, dental floss can make those celebrations a little fancier by helping you cut through your vanilla cakes or any other flavor you love. 

Dental floss can cut through any cake-type – whether it is an icing cake, sponge cake or buttercream cake. However, it would help if you were careful not to use any flavored dental floss because they are usually coated with chemicals, which can pose serious health issues when consumed. 

3. Emergency Shoelace

Sure, a broken shoelace can mean the end of the road for most people, but dental floss can always come to your rescue. Indeed, it may not look the part, but dental floss will ultimately do the job and most probably, that’s your primary objective – to get the job done and not to look perfect or fancy in any way. 

4. Create a Bow and Arrow Set for Your Kid

Yes, dental floss looks tiny, but these objects can shoot up to 20 feet. Kids will surely love it when you create a bow and an arrow to play either indoors or outdoors. To make this, start by carving little notches in the popsicle stick ends, then submerge that stick in a bowl containing water. Wrap a reasonable length of floss on one end, then pull across the other side before wrapping it there, too. 

5. Can Be Used to Create Beautiful Easter Eggs 

You can use floss to make beautiful Easter eggs. You can do this by tying many pieces of floss around the eggshell after you have hard-boiled it. Sure, easter just passed, so you may have to wait for another couple of months before you can show off your beautiful easter eggs. While this may be frustrating, it allows you to perfect your art. 

6. Used to Create Garland Strings 

Festive holidays are no doubt fun, but you can make them even more glamorous by creating some garland strings for the next festive holiday. Waxed dental floss comes in handy when you need strings for balloons, candy, and food during the festive holiday. That said, you can use floss with a needle to string up any material you will need for your event – whether a festive holiday or a birthday party. 

7. Can Act as a Thread Substitute

Your tote bag could be one of your favorites. However, it can be downright frustrating if your tote bag handle falls off. Floss can be an excellent substitute for the traditional thread and can be used for repairs when an emergency comes. You can also use floss to repair your umbrella or your blouse when a button gets loose or pops off.

8. Can Be Used to Hang Frames

You can also use dental floss to hang frames with your special pictures. The tiny dental floss strips are strong enough to hold the little frames. If your frames are heavy, just make a couple of loops so that your frames don’t fall down.

9. Create a Clothesline

Dental floss can also be used to create a clothesline to hang your bathing suits. Again, you can create a couple of loops to hang clothes so that your floss can lift the weight of your clothes.