People have become more and more conscious of how our choices affect the world around us. It seems that nearly every week there is a serious environmental emergency somewhere in the world, whether it’s the wildfires raging in California, earthquakes literally shaking things up in India, or the flooding in the Carolinas.
You can get all of your personal care products organic, gluten-free, cruelty-free or environmentally friendly. Did you know that the same goes for your oral hygiene products? Let’s start at the very beginning of your oral care routine to see what changes you can make to minimize your ecological footprint and make more eco-friendly choices!
Although this might go without saying, always, always, always turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. By shutting off the water between wetting your toothbrush and rinsing your mouth, instead of letting it run continuously while you brush (that’s at least two minutes, just during brushing!), you save ten gallons of water each day! Rather than turning on the tap to rinse out your mouth, use a cup instead. This way water isn’t running down the drain while you raise your hands to your mouth or lower your mouth to the water.
Experts at the American Dental Association recommend that we all replace our toothbrushes every three to four months. Traditional, commercial toothbrushes (think of the manual ones from Colgate or Oral-B) are made of plastics, which is problematic for two main reasons: plastics are derived from a process using fossil fuels, and these plastic toothbrushes cannot be recycled so they end up in landfills. Thankfully there are more environmentally friendly options available to you like the following:
- Neem Chew Sticks – Made from organically grown bamboo, these neem sticks are completely made from plants and 100% biodegradable.
- Bamboo toothbrushes – Bamboo is a remarkable plant; in the right conditions, a bamboo plant can grow up to four feet in a single day! This makes bamboo a sustainable resource for toothbrush handles. Although bamboo toothbrush handles won’t last forever, they also won’t stay in landfills or our oceans forever like traditional toothbrushes.
- Recyclable toothbrushes – Look for toothbrushes that are made from recycled materials, like these that are made from recycled yogurt containers. Recycled toothbrush manufacturers also often offer recycling programs too! Minimize your environmental impact even further by taking advantage of these programs.
Environmentally Friendly Toothpaste
Nearly every toothpaste advertisement features a toothbrush that is fully loaded with a long strip of toothpaste, but is all that product really necessary? Definitely not; in fact, most toothpaste instructions only call for a pea-sized amount. Use only as much toothpaste as you need so that your toothpaste tubes last longer and limit the number of them that end up in landfills! Other things to be aware of:
- Look for toothpastes that come in recyclable plastic containers. For example, Terracycle partners with Colgate and Tom’s of Maine to recycle toothpaste tubes.
- Some toothpastes come in metal tubes, which are much easier to recycle than plastic tubes.
- Buy toothpaste that comes in a jar, like Uncle Harry’s, to limit your use of environmentally harmful plastics.
- Cruelty-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, fluoride-free, and all-natural options abound! You can even try homemade, but be wary of homemade toothpaste recipes that call for baking soda, as it is too abrasive and will damage the teeth’s enamel.
Ask Us for Additional Recommendations
If you’re looking to make changes to your dental hygiene routine to make it more environmentally friendly and reduce your ecological footprint, contact us for more tips. Our team is excited to share their dental knowledge with you and we’re always looking for ways we can be more environmentally conscious. We look forward to hearing from you soon!