Oral Health Group

Flossing Is Now Debatable Due To Allergic Reactions In Patients

August 16, 2016
by Josh Crabb, CTV News Winnipeg

Dentists have long taught people the benefits of flossing as part of good oral health.

A new made in Manitoba study put the practice under the microscope and the results are surprising.

Dentists actually asked some of their patients to stop flossing and now their work is changing the way some people clean between their teeth.

For years she flossed at least once a day but the results were disappointing.

“I just noticed that my gums weren’t pink and tight to my teeth,” said Neuman. “They were ever so slightly inflamed in the front and I couldn’t figure out why because my oral hygiene is impeccable.”

Frustrated and worried, Neuman sought help from specialists and started flossing twice a day but there was no improvement.

To view the full story, please visit: http://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/manitoba-researchers-investigate-possible-allergies-to-dental-floss-1.3029779

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12 Comments » for Flossing Is Now Debatable Due To Allergic Reactions In Patients
  1. Linda says:

    For almost a whole year I suffered with lip cheilitis. Both lips were painfully sore, red, with scaling cracking and irritation in the angles of the mouth. I saw two dermatologists neither of whom had a clue as to what was going on. I changed toothpastes, stopped using toothpase, brushed with coconut oil, but nothing helped. Then I came across a post on the New Zealand DermNet website with the answer. The wax used on many dental flosses contains rosin or colophony to which some people are allergic. It was my dental flossing 2 or 3 X each day that caused my lip problems. J & J and other manufacturers of dental floss need to list the ingredients in the wax of their floss on the packaging and state that the wax may cause allergic reactions.

    • Marie says:

      I have been using floss for almost two years now and gradually the skin inside my lips and around my gums feels like nerve damage and strange sensations inside my lips and very dry lips. I started flossing under a bridge because of gingavitis and now I am going to stop flossing as of today. I don’t know how long it will take for my mouth to return to normal or if it will. I stopped for a few days here and there but never long term. I am hoping after some time I get my mouth back. I have been to many doctors and dentists with no answers and even changed my bridge twice. I believe there are many people who are effected by flossing and if any out there I would like to know.

  2. Karen says:

    I have had a form of stomatitis for almost a year, mostly around the top of my mouth behind my front teeth and a kind of numb feeling as another writer has reported. I’ve also had cheilitis. Two ENT doctors and a dentist all say they can see no problem that can be causing it. I have changed my diet, my toothpaste BUT not my dental floss. I, too, shall stop flossing to see if it makes any difference.

  3. Marie says:

    I wrote back on 10/12/2019 about the possible allergic reaction to floss. It started with what was thought to be gingavitis under a very old bridge. After many many doctors dentists, nerve specialists and finally an allergist who does patch testing I have my answer. For anyone out there please be careful of floss. My symptoms after flossing first felt like a strange sensation under my two front teeth. I continued to floss on and off for over two years for fear of bleeding gums. I should mention I also went to a periodontist who said I have healthy gums. I had multiple x rays, ct scans of my jaw and whole oral cavity as well as oral cancer screenings only to find today from the allergist that the patch test for oral b dental floss came back positive. I have the paper work. I only hope now as I stop flossing that this damage inside my mouth can heal. It feels numb inside my lips and the tissue feels as if it has lost density. Since this is over two years of flossing I hope to get some feeling back. Since the skin inside my lips is numb it became very difficult to eat. It ruined many occasions and all of the holidays. It progressed to this point before I could find an allergist who did patch testing. Please if I can help someone to avoid this long term problem it would be worth me writing this very long review. This has been a long hard road with many doctors, tests, buying multiple vitamins and all sorts of toothpaste and oral rinses only to not get relief these past two years. Having fillings and bridges removed multiple times only to find out that yes it was the floss causing this reaction inside my lips. I even lost my taste and smell. It comes and goes now. My tongue was white and dry as were my lips. Mostly the numb feeling inside the lips around the oral mucosa and gums is what was most worrisome. Please be careful of flossing. Sorry this is so long but I wanted to reach out to help at least some. You see many are not affected by floss but I believe there are many out there who are and cannot figure out what is wrong. I hope by reaching out tonight that I could help as least some.

  4. Karen says:

    In answer to your second post Marie, I am so grateful you have come back to inform people of this allergy. I have not used floss (Oral B for me too) in about 16 days. The symptoms are still very much there but maybe a slight lessening of the intensity. I, too, was told my gums are fine. I thought…how can they be when my mouth feels so inflamed? I was surprised to read that the gum sensitivity/numbness was also at the site of your top front teeth!!!! Other teeth have also at times felt numb as though there was some kind of nerve damage. It has been very distressing and i just haven’t known what to do next … Please keep me updated on your hopeful recovery and I will do so also, and hope that anyone finding this site might find some answers as I hope I have !

    • Marie says:

      Hello Karen, I switched floss to Reach brand which was unflavored but still waxed and the feeling inside my lips are much worse now. I was using this Reach floss on and off for the last two months. I do believe it is the wax in all flosses causing this reaction. My numbness is under my two front teeth and also inside my lips. Now my lips and inside my mouth where the lips meet are starting to burn and itch especially when I eat and drink anything. I think I read somewhere it could take up to six weeks for the mouth to recover. If you read this please let me know how you are doing. I have to start over again starting today since I flossed last night and was for about a week. I have not given it enough time yet to give my mouth a chance to heal. Thank you for writing in. Sorry I took so long to write back. Hope you are feeling better and hope to hear from you.

  5. Karen Sifostratoudaki says:

    Marie, I am sorry to hear that you are still suffering. I stopped using dental floss of any type around the beginning of February. I had been using Oral B for quite a few months and as the problem got worse, I unknowingly started using it 3 or 4 times a day, consequently making the problem much worse. I am sure in the past I have used another brand which I don’t think affected me, so I think the problems started with the Oral B brand for me. It has now been just over 3 months since I last used dental floss and my mouth feels a lot better. A strange feeling still remains at the base of my top front teeth but the numbness I felt in my teeth seems to have gone. Let’s say… that some days now I don’t think about it whereas before it was on my mind almost constantly. I would never use floss again but after a fortnight of not flossing I decided to try interdental brushes as many have suggested. So far, so good…. As I had said in a previous post, my lips were affected at some point and an ENT doctor said that it was because of my whole mouth being ‘irritated’ but of course could not say why it was irritated…… I presume it will take a few more months for my mouth to return to its previous state (I suffered for approximately a year) not weeks unfortunately. I am just so thankful I came across this site when wondering if it was an allergy, even though an ENT doctor had said no it can’t be an allergy as your whole mouth would be affected not just the specific areas she saw. Let me know how you are feeling now that you have stopped the floss completely. Good luck!

  6. Jeff adler says:

    Can you please give us an update if indeed the gloss was the culprit of you lip reactions since I have the same problem. Mostly I use floss sticks but have dry, swollen lips that have burning and tingling sensations and all of the above as you stated. Thank you

  7. Karen says:

    Well, it’s been a month since I wrote my last post and about 4 and a half months since I stopped using dental floss. My whole mouth has just slowly improved. I still feel some sensitivity at the top part of the roof of my mouth behind my top front teeth but the numbness in my teeth and lips is so much better. When I eat ‘hard’ foods or something a bit too spicy, that area of my gums is still a bit sore. So, no… I don’t feel it has completely gone but it is nothing like it was before when I would wake thinking about my gums, teeth and lips and the soreness and irritation that was constantly present. I used floss ‘swords’ for a couple of years before this and they never bothered me so I think it’s something in the floss. I would love to know how long it takes for the mouth to recover from this kind of allergy related problem. I have read it can be months but maybe it depends on how long you used the floss or how frequently you used it……

  8. karen nardone says:

    Some flosses contain peg.polyethaline glycol. Im allergic to peg.its in most toothpastes as well

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for that. I was wondering how previous posters are doing and whether they have had any improvement. Sadly my problem is about the same and I am now looking into food allergies……..

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