Many people are trying to take a more sustainable approach to life, including dental care products. Like many items, oral care products are often made from plastics or hard-to-recycle materials. Still, if you look around, it is possible to find oral care products that take a greener approach without compromising oral health. Below you will find some options to look out for.
Toothpaste tubes are generally made from non-recyclable plastic, so toothpaste tablets are a sustainable, plastic-free alternative. As you chew the tablets, they create a foam so you can brush your teeth easily. Look for a brand containing fluoride or nano-hydroxyapatite, a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel.
If toothpaste tablets don’t appeal, look for a brand containing naturally healthy ingredients. These tend to be free from artificial flavouring and colouring, and the tubes are mostly plastic-free. These kinds of toothpaste may also be free from sodium lauryl sulphate, which causes toothpaste to foam. Some people are sensitive to this foaming agent, so removing it can create a more comfortable experience, although the lack of foam can take a little getting used to initially.
An electric toothbrush can be a more sustainable option as only the brush head needs replacing, and the batteries are rechargeable. A good quality electric toothbrush can last for years before it needs replacing. It can provide a superior brushing experience, especially for anyone lacking the dexterity to manipulate a manual brush. When the time comes to replace the entire toothbrush, you simply need to ensure you recycle the brush properly. However, an electric toothbrush can be expensive, and top-of-the-range models may cost several hundred dollars, but they can help you maintain good oral health more easily, so they are a good long-term investment.
Not everyone likes using an electric toothbrush, especially anyone who travels frequently and doesn’t want the hassle of trying to recharge the brush regularly. In this case, you can buy manual toothbrushes that are more eco-friendly and which are made from recycled plastic or bamboo. Some recycling programs, such as TerraCycle, will accept used toothbrushes for recycling responsibly. They break down the used plastic into pellets that are then re-used to create new items such as park benches.
Daily flossing is essential for strong, healthy gums, but dental floss does not break down and is not eco-friendly. A better alternative is to use a water flosser that squirts pressurised water between your gums and is very effective at removing food and plaque buildup. There are plug-in and rechargeable models available, and water flossers often come with a range of different tips for cleaning around braces or other dental appliances. These devices can be a bit pricey to buy initially and take a little practice to use, but they will prove much quicker than conventional dental floss and are highly effective.
If you use mouthwash, look for a sustainably packaged brand that contains no artificial dyes and is alcohol-free. Nowadays, some companies are choosing to use fully recyclable aluminium packaging rather than plastic.