Have you ever stopped to think that every product you use to clean your teeth is either made from plastic or packaged in plastic, or both? In the last 6 months I’ve eliminated about 98% of the plastic from my daily toothcare routine, and no, my teeth aren’t yellow and my breath isn’t stinky. Read on to learn about the easy changes I’ve made.
Floss IS a roll of plastic string (either nylon or teflon) coated in synthetic flavored wax that is made from petroleum. We’re now finding out something kind of obvious, if you think about it - flossing leaves behind microplastics in your mouth. In fact, a study in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology in January 2019 found that women who floss with Oral-B Glide have higher concentration of PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) in their blood. A quote from Health.com states that:
Previous research suggests that adults with higher levels of these compounds in their blood are at greater risk of kidney and testicular cancer, high cholesterol, fertility problems, and ulcerative colitis. Elevated PFAS levels are linked to lower birth weights in newborns and to thyroid disease, compromised immunity, and lowered sex and growth hormones in children.
Last year, a Harvard University study found that women with higher levels of PFAS tend to have slower metabolisms and gain back more weight after dieting than those with lower levels.
The study looked at several lifestyle habits and products that may cause higher levels of PFAS in the bloodstream and found that flosses like Oral-B Glide as well as eating prepared foods in coated cardboard and paper packaging are likely the biggest factors of the ones studied. More testing is needed to verify how the chemicals travel from saliva to bloodstream.
To try to green my floss game I switched to Dental Lace. It’s 100% silk coated in candelilla wax and peppermint oil. It comes in a refillable glass container with metal lid. The refills come in a cardboard box and compostable plastic bag. The floss itself is compostable too! This floss is not for vegans since it’s made from silk. It’s also not the ultimate “green” option as there is controversy around silk regarding if the silk worms are killed when harvesting.
I’d love to know if you have any eco floss options that you’ve tried. Comment below!
Here’s a statistic for you… Every plastic toothbrush ever made is still in existence today. It takes over 400 years for a plastic toothbrush to decompose. According to Medium, 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the USA. That’s about 50 million pounds of waste.
To green my toothbrush routine I donated my Sonicare electric toothbrush to Goodwill and bought a Mable. Now, before I get started on Mable, I want to mention an important thing to remember when making eco-friendly changes to your lifestyle. Use what you have until it’s unusable. Definitely don’t throw your non-eco items away and go buy the eco version. That just wouldn’t make sense if you’re trying to make the earth a greener place. And when you can, buy second hand. That’s not going to happen with toothbrushes, so now I’ll introduce you to Mable.
The Mable toothbrush is made from bamboo and takes about 6 to 8 months to decompose. The bristles are made from BPA-free nylon and they recommend you either pull out the bristles before composting or snap the head off. I throw my bristles in my TerraCycle Zero Waste Box so I know they won’t end up blowing into the sea to add to the microplastics there. For every toothbrush Mable sells they give one to a child in the USA. They also educate children on personal health and sustainable choices.
The Mable toothbrush is on the pricier end of eco-friendly toothbrushes (adult two-pack for $12), but there are many other sustainable toothbrushes on the market. Comment below with your favorite!
I’m not even going to get started on all the nasty ingredients in typical toothpastes. We’d be here all day. If you want to read about them, click here. A surprising thing I learned recently is that glycerin is in even natural toothpastes, and it can prevent your teeth from remineralizing. There is some debate about this, but either way, I find making my own toothpaste (well, tooth powder) a fun and easy thing to do. I know exactly what’s in it because I made it! The switch to tooth powder was pretty easy. It took me 2 brushings to be totally convinced that I loved it, but now I really do. There’s no mess either. You wet your toothbrush and dip it in the tooth powder, tap off any excess powder, and brush! It even gets a little foamy in your mouth. My husband and I use Wellness Mama’s recipe for tooth powder. I’ve been using it for 4 months and my teeth are just as white as they always were, my breath is fresh, and my teeth are clean. I don’t add any xylitol, so it’s not sweet, but I love it! Click here for the recipe.
P.S. I recently posted a photo and description of my new green tooth routine on Instagram and a dentist commented and said he approved! I have my own dentist appointment in 2 months and will report back.