Plastic Free Dental Care - Something To Smile About

Posted by Hillary Miller on

May 17th sees the start of National Smile Month in the UK and if you ask me eliminating plastic from your dental care routine is something worth smiling about so read on for some great alternatives.

Bathroom products are a big contributor to plastic waste and dental care is no exception.  Fortunately there are plenty of ways to reduce our impact with some very simple switches.


The Toothache:

It's recommended by dentists that we change our toothbrush every three months.  A quick calculation tells me that's four brushes a year per person and approximately 240 MILLION a year for the UK population!! If we start including other nations these numbers become staggering for all the wrong reasons.

They are made from a mix of plastics and so are difficult if not impossible to recycle. As such they can take literally 100s of years to break down leaving a trail of micro plastics.  The chances are your first toothbrush still exists (as does your second, third, fourth.......etc). Not good.

The Smile Factor:

Bamboo Toothbrushes are an easy switch, available in different colours and sizes to suit every smile. The handles will easily compost or can be upcycled (time to get creative).  In some locations the bristles can be recycled too.

For those who love their electric toothbrushes there are also options for Oral-B and Philips Sonic compatible heads. My wonderful supplier BRUSHD offers a FREE recycle programme for all of it's brushes (a plastic free returns bag is included with each packet). Local recycling struggle to process toothbrush heads but by returning them to BRUSHD you know they'll be processed in the correct facility.


The Toothache:

Often overlooked, floss can be a massive environmental problem. Traditional floss is made from nylon which is derived from petroleum. Not only does it use valuable resources but it can take years to break down. Most floss is destined for landfill or will be burnt.  If it goes to landfill there's a risk of it escaping and being harmful to local wildlife.  Whilst burning it just releases toxic fumes and moves the issue into the atmosphere. I'm sure you'll agree neither option is great.

The Smile Factor:

Eco friendly dental floss is available and is made entirely from plant based materials, namely corn and food grade vegetable wax. Made from renewable resources it's an obvious switch.

Silk floss also exists but once you read about what they do to silk worms you'll probably want to avoid it too!


The Toothache:

Toothpaste tubes are notoriously difficult to recycle as they contain more than one material making them hard to separate and process. As a result a lot of tubes find their way to landfill. 

The Smile Factor:

Alternatives include toothpaste tablets and with Denttabs Toothpaste Tablets being a popular item it's easy to make the change. Each packet contains two months worth of tablets and you can even buy a handy travel tin to go with them. They come wrapped in a corn starch packet which can be safely composted at home. Kiss goodbye to exploding toothpaste in your wash bag! I've certainly had my fair share of that! 


Hopefully these simple switches will help you reduce your daily plastic consumption and minimise waste created from you dental hygiene routine.  

Keep Smiling!



Photo Credit: Erick Tang

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