Make your teeth greener and stay away from oral cancer

October 5, 2018
Dental Hygiene

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October is national dental hygiene month. The perfect time to make sure your hygiene practices are sustainable! The amount of waste produced from dental hygiene products is astronomical. Think about what your dental hygiene routine consists of. Brushing, flossing and gargling. Let’s not even talk about the water that’s wasted when the faucet is running as people complete their routine.

There are 1 billion plastic toothbrushes thrown away each year in the US alone!  That’s 50 million pounds of waste that are added to landfills every year.  Sure you can opt for an electric toothbrush that you will keep for a while, until the battery needs to be replaced, the head will definitely need to be replaced at least every 3 months.  Those heads are not recyclable because of the staples that hold the bristles in place. 

There are several eco-friendly options out there. The key is sifting through all of the “sustainable” marketing on the packages to make sure your entire toothbrush can be recycled.

Your dental hygiene routine may also include using a mouthwash. However, did you know that some mouthwashes could potentially cause oral cancer? Make sure you take a look at the ingredients on your bottle at home. You may like the tingle that your favorite mouthwash gives your mouth, but more than likely that tingly feeling comes with a price. Look for healthier options; you could even try a DIY mouthwash. This site is a great start to finding an eco-friendly mouthwash.

Last but not least, and the smallest is your floss. I discovered that you can not truly recycle floss. The floss itself is too small and will get stuck in the recycle machinery.  The packaging can be recycled, but you have to remove any metal components.  When you look at floss itself, it is made of Teflon- yes the same stuff that coats nonstick pans. In addition, many of the brands of floss have a synthetic wax coating made of petroleum.

There are “eco-friendly” options that are available that will leave a minimum carbon imprint in the world. Another “floss-less” option is an oral irrigator. Not exactly sure how it could help you? Check out this post by a Dentist who suggests that we stop flossing and use an oral irrigator.

Now that was a lot of info! But at least your pearly whites are ready to go green!