Gum disease is a condition that occurs when bacteria builds up around the gum line.…
The good news is that you don’t have to be part of the problem. More and more people are joining the zero-waste movement, striving to only use items that are biodegradable, compostable, and plastic-free. One particular challenge is finding reusable oral care items, since most over-the-counter products like floss, toothpaste tubes, and toothbrushes are made of plastic. In today’s post, our Steele Creek dentist discusses some earth-friendly swaps you can make that will help you take care of the Earth and your teeth.
Each year, over one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away in the US, resulting in 50 million pounds of non-recyclable plastic waste. Some companies are trying to mitigate this problem by creating bamboo toothbrushes, which are biodegradable when placed in a compost bin (even items marked as “biodegradable” will not decompose in a standard landfill). The only drawback is the bristles: most bamboo toothbrushes use plastic bristles, which must be pulled out before the handle can be composted. If you want to use a fully-organic toothbrush, your best option is a model which uses boar’s hair bristles.
Silk Dental Floss
Most commercial dental floss is made of nylon, Teflon, or another synthetic petroleum material. One great, organic material that can replace dental floss is silk, which is spun from silkworms. Since true silk floss is expensive, you might try rummaging through your local secondhand store to find a 100% silk clothing article, and repurpose the threads for floss. You can also purchase silk thread from art supply stores, but these will usually arrive in plastic packaging.
If neither of the above option appeals to you, you might purchase floss from a brand like Dental Lace. This company and those like it packages floss in recyclable glass vials, which can be shipped back and refilled once you’ve used up your floss.
There are countless recipes for toothpaste on the internet, the vast majority of them involving baking soda and/or bentonite clay, which are both abrasive substances that scrub away plaque. If you decide to make your own toothpaste, make sure to include fluoride powder in the mix. Fluoride is a natural mineral just like calcium and magnesium which has been shown to strengthen tooth enamel. A toothpaste that lacks it is not giving you the best possible oral health advantages!
Note that, while fluoride powder will likely arrive in plastic packaging, just one bag is enough for a lifetime’s supply of homemade toothpaste—versus countless non-recyclable toothpaste tubes.
Need a Dentist in Steele Creek?
We hope this blog post has helped you discover ways to make your oral care routine more eco-friendly, without sacrificing your dental health. Another way to reduce waste when it comes to your teeth is seeking regular dental cleaning appointments, which can remove plaque and tartar buildup you were not able to reach on your own. Preventative dental care means less invasive dental procedures, and therefore less time, money, and material spent fixing them! To schedule a dental cleaning with our Steele Creek dentist, click here.