How to use plastic-free dental care

Making your dental care routine plastic free 

Plastic Free dental care

Why the need to cut down on plastic? 

Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined.

100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually

(Source: Surfers Against Sewage).

Plastic as part of our dental care routine

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in all our homes. It is also a significant source of plastic pollution. Moreover, our daily teeth cleaning routine is part of the problem. 

Although we may not give it much thought, the humble toothbrush has become a common place pollutant on our beaches. 80% of the 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes estimated to be used each year, finding their way into our Oceans.

Imagine we use 4 toothbrushes a year. Now, multiply this up over a lifetime. This means 300 toothbrushes could be used by the average person!

Next, imagine this much toothbrush waste over the lifetime of each of our Planet’s inhabitant!

And now, to totally blow your mind. Each one of the toothbrushes you have ever owned will still be somewhere on the Planet! We can see how this plastic pollution becomes a risk to marine life.

So, how can we reduce the plastic footprint of our dental care routine?

Fortunately, there are environmental friendly swaps for all of the key sources of plastic. Namely:

  • Toothbrushes 
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss

Plastic-free, ethical Toothbrushes

A simple alternative is the bamboo toothbrush. Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial and anti fungal. This makes it a good choice for a toothbrush handle. 

Our ethical suppliers

We stock brushes from 2 suppliers, Plastic Phobia and Curanatura. Both companies source their brushes from China. We have chosen these companies because they follow ethical practices and work directly with their suppliers.

The handles are made from Mosa bamboo. This type of bamboo is native to China. It is a native species and grows rapidly. This means little water is required. And as no pesticides are needed, it is an organic crop.

Both the farmers growing the bamboo, and those making the brushes have good working conditions. They are paid a good wage for their labours. 

What to do with your bamboo toothbrush at end of use

You can compost the bamboo toothbrush handle at end of use (it will compost within 6 months in warm composting conditions). Or you could also use it as a plant marker or a fire lighter. 

Let’s consider the bristles. These are usually made from Nylon. The bristles in our brushes are made from a plant-based plastic. This is a better option than a fossil fuel-based source. Realistically though, this plastic is unlikely to biodegrade naturally. So dispose of it carefully to prevent micro-plastic pollution. Do this by removing the bristles from the handle before composting. You can use pliers to pull the bristles out. Or break off the handle.

Natural alternatives to bristles are animal-based fibres. So we prefer to stick with a bio-plastic option until other alternatives are available.

How to prolong the life of your bamboo toothbrush

Make sure to store the brush is dry place. Dry well after use and don;t leave standing in water. You can also apply a coat of nail varnish to the bottom of the handle to help prevent it absorbing water. Also, if there are a number of brushes in your bathroom, you could use a different colour nail varnish for each person.

Plastic-free Toothpaste 

If you would like to reduce the amount of unrecyclable toothpaste tubes then natural toothpaste in a glass container is a good swap. We stock Georganics natural toothpastes and powders. Georganics are UK-based, zero-waste, ethical dental-care brand.

Their mineral-based toothpastes and powders are naturally remineralising and both fluoride and SLS-free. There are lots of different essential oil flavoured choices too! Moreover they are packaged sustainably in recyclable glass, with an aluminium lid and in a recyclable/compostable cardboard box.

We also stock Denttabs, chewable toothpaste tablets with Fluoride. These are fantastic chewable toothpaste. They are super portable and great when you’re travelling. They are sold in bulk for your own containers.    

Plastic-free Mouthwash option

Spearmint Georganics mouthwash tablets

If you want to reduce plastic bottles in your bathroom then the Georganics mouthwash tablets are a great substitute. They are packaged in recyclable glass. A jar will last for 3 months if you use them twice a day. Simply dissolve the natural tablets in 20ml or so of water and gargle away! 

Georganics also offer an Oil Pulling mouthwash. This is a great alternative to conventional mouthwash. Oil pulling is a traditional and soothing way to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth. It reduces plaque build up whilst also removing stains which whitens teeth naturally. It is made from a natural blends of virgin coconut oil and organic essential oils. Activated Charcoal is one of the favourite options.

Acala vegan floss dispenser and refills
Acala Vegan Floss dispenser and refills

Floss 

Again, you will find that swapping to sustainable floss is simple. We stock floss from 2 companies, Georganics and Acala.

Each 30m length of floss comes in a refillable glass bottle with a metal lid which is also used to cut the floss. We stock the Georganic Activated Charcoal floss for added whitening and microbial action. Plus the Orange and Spearmint flavours are made from ethically-produced silk fibres. Moreover these are biodegradable. 

The Acala floss is cornstarch-based so this can be composted. Once the floss is all finished, you can add a new refill clew and reuse the glass bottle. Brilliant!

In conclusion,

We rarely give much thought to brushing our teeth. It has been a part of our daily routines for so long that we don’t think about the impact. But thanks to the rising awareness of plastic pollution, more of us are reconsidering our everyday choices. We hope you’ve got some good ideas for swaps from this blog post.

3 thoughts on “How to use plastic-free dental care”

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