When it comes to making environmentally-friendly choices, every little bit helps. Oral hygiene is a significant part of our daily routine, which is why thinking about ways to make brushing our teeth more sustainable and positive for the planet can make a substantial impact over time! Here are a few of our favorite ways to go green when caring for our teeth.
1) Choose a toothbrush made of recycled material.
There are an increasing number of options for toothbrushes that are made from products like recycled plastic, yogurt containers, or cardboard. Consider brands like Preserve and Toms of Maine. These recycled toothbrushes do as good of a job as any other brand, yet have a significantly less harmful footprint on the environment!
2) Choose a toothbrush that’s biodegradable.
Toothbrushes don’t last forever (you should be changing them out twice a year or when the bristles start to fray). However, instead of throwing them out and consigning them to eternity in a landfill, consider a biodegradable toothbrush, made from natural materials like bamboo. Though their bristles do have to be removed before they can be composted, this option ensures that the toothbrush will naturally break down over time without leaving any harmful substances behind.
3) Buy toothpaste made from natural ingredients.
Being more discerning with your toothpaste selection is another way to make a difference. Many traditional kinds of toothpaste are made from ingredients that are taxing on the environment or which, because they’re not natural, contribute to harmful traces found in our water system (a problem shared with many synthetic prescriptions and ingredients).
4) Turn the water off when you’re brushing.
Here’s a simple tactic that doesn’t require any extra effort: turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth. This one’s easy to forget, but its impact can be huge over time. If you’re brushing your teeth for the recommended full two minutes with your faucet running, you’re wasting approximately five gallons of water! Multiply that by thirty days, and you could be misusing up to 150 gallons of water, in just one month! Instead, the only times you need to wet your toothbrush is upon initially running the water and re-rinse as you near the end of brushing.
5) Use biodegradable dental floss.
Did you know? Most dental floss is made from nylon – derived from crude oil. Not only does its source have a massive carbon footprint, but this type of dental floss takes about 50 to 80 years to decompose. For an alternative, consider silk dental floss (which is sometimes sold coated in beeswax). This type of floss does an equally good job of getting into the nooks and crannies of your teeth, yet decomposes within 60-90 days.
6) Keep an eye out for recyclable packaging.
Everything comes in a package, and more often than not, those packages are made from materials like plastic that aren’t sustainably sourced or easily broken down. Check the labels on the packaging of your toothpaste box, mouthwash bottle, or dental floss holder for indications that they’re made from recyclable materials or that they can be recycled.
If you are looking for environmentally-friendly habits to tie into your daily oral care routine, Allegiance Dental Associates is happy to speak with you about a variety of strategies for protecting and preserving your teeth and the planet! Give us a call at (410) 670-3376 or request an appointment online!