Small Tweaks: Creating a Sustainable Dental Routine

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This is all the dental hygiene products in my apartment. 

I've purchased these items in bulk from Costco. Buying bulk is both eco and budget friendly. Right? Bulk items have less packaging, making my carbon footprint smaller. So I thought.

Although bulk shopping is a step to sustainability, we have to take a closer look at the items themselves. 

All of these dental products are predominantly made of plastics that are hard to recycle and non-biodegradable. 

Up until now, I had no clue there were eco-friendly options for my teeth.

Tooth Brush

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Did you know that 1 billion toothbrushes are discarded yearly in the United States? Tooth brushes are not bio-degradable. The handle is made of plastic and rubber, the bristles are made of nylon- all products derived from crude oil. This amounts to 50 million pounds of plastic (not including packaging) just sitting around in our landfills. 

It's as simple as STOP and SWITCH. Once you have gone through all of the toothbrushes in your household, switch to bamboo toothbrushes. Bamboo toothbrushes are compostable and will keep plastic out of our landfills. Lauren from Trash is For Tossers suggests "Brush with Bamboo" as her favorite zero waste option. 

Before throwing out old toothbrushes, give their lives more purpose by: 

  • Cleaning Shoes
  • Cleaning bathroom tiles
  • Polishing jewelry 
  • Brushing your eyebrows

Tooth Paste

Toothpaste tubes (categorized as a type 4 plastic) are difficult to recycle because they are made of multiple types of plastics. Most curbside recycling programs don't recycle type 4 plastics. Even if you wash the tube and place it in your recycle bin, it will still end up in the landfill. 

The solution to reduce waste is to make your own toothpaste or dental powder. Dental powder is also purchasable, but make sure it comes in a glass container.

Homemade Toothpaste Options:

  • Trash is for Tossers has a recipe using Coconut Butter which can help remineralize your enamel. ( I will be trying this recipe.)
  • AsktheDentist gives a rundown of different ingredients and their effect on our dental health. 

Floss

Floss is made of nylon, a byproduct of crude oil, encased in single use plastic containers. Floss will always stay on the planet because it is not biodegradable. Through researching for this article, I came across this photo.

 https://www.boredpanda.com/environmental-pollution/?media_id=199696

https://www.boredpanda.com/environmental-pollution/?media_id=199696

No lies. I started crying. I learned that the tear-free floss that I once loved was hurting the environment in ways I couldn't have imagined.

There aren't vegan eco-friendly options available for floss. Some bloggers have suggested to use your own hair to floss; however, a great solution is to use silk floss or water picks. If you would like to read more Waste Land Rebel has an amazing article about dental floss. 

Stay woke and switch to Dental Lace This company produces floss out of silk and Candelilla Wax. The packaging is reusable glass containers. Once you finish the floss in the container, just purchase additional floss to refill. 

Mouth Wash 

Like toothpaste, the most sustainable option is to skip the plastic bottle and make your mouthwash at home. 

Homemade Mouthwash options:

  • If you are interested in learning about how herbs or oil pulling, Wellness Mama has a few suggestions. 
  • Frugally Sustainable discusses the cost and health benefits of switching to home made mouth wash. 

Commitment

It takes commitment to change your long standing habits. 

I am committed to create a more sustainable dental routine. Are you?