Brushing your teeth is a part of life. It’s something most parents teach their children at an early age. Dental hygiene has been a part of our society since around 3500 BC when the Egyptians used chew sticks to clean their teeth. The Chinese developed the first toothbrush around the 15th century. Over time, dental care has evolved to what it is today.
People around the world purchase toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss. It’s a part of our daily health routine. Unfortunately, people often buy plastic dental products, which is harmful to the environment. Dental hygiene is important, but so is our planet.
While throwing a toothbrush away may not seem like a big deal, it creates a hazardous environment for our wildlife. It’s interesting how something so small can make such a huge difference when it comes to pollution.
The American Dental Association recommends switching toothbrushes every three months or after an illness. Due to this, roughly 3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold worldwide every year, and the number continues to increase. While this is a positive thing for dental care, it can be threatening to the earth.
One of the easiest ways to protect the environment is to purchase eco-friendly products. Find out ways you can save the environment while also keeping your teeth clean and healthy.
Toothbrushes make up 50 million pounds of waste added to landfills. They’re made from polypropylene plastic and nylon, which makes them hazardous for the environment and wildlife. Due to storms, rain, and winds, plastic often ends up in nature and the ocean.
Bamboo toothbrushes are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic ones. They take about six months to compost, whereas plastic toothbrushes can take hundreds of years. Before purchasing a bamboo toothbrush, be sure to check the ingredients. Some bamboo products still have nylon bristles. Bamboo toothbrushes that are completely biodegradable usually have bristles made from other materials such as castor beans.
There are also reusable toothbrushes. Toothbrush manufacturers such as Goodwell create green-conscious toothbrushes. You still need to replace the head of the toothbrush every three months, but the bristles are made of binchotan charcoal, which is recyclable.
Sometimes toothpaste, even the most popular ones, contains hazardous ingredients for the environment.
When looking for green-friendly toothpaste, check that the ingredients are not harmful to the environment and that the packaging is plastic-free.
Some ingredients that are harmful include fluoride, carrageenan, propylene glycol, and triclosan. Triclosan converts to dioxin in the sunlight, which is dangerous for humans and animals. Many toothpaste companies have eliminated this from their ingredients list, but it is always good to double-check before purchasing it.
Tubular toothpaste often ends up in landfills. It’s difficult to recycle because the tubes are composed of different materials. An alternative to tubular toothpaste is toothpaste tablets. Toothpaste tablets are plastic-free and easily portable.
When researching toothpaste tablets, make sure that it contains fluoride and calcium carbonate. These ingredients benefit your teeth, while you also help preserve the environment.
Dental floss is non-recyclable and is harmful to the environment. Floss is mainly made of nylon. Due to the production process, floss is a compilation of various materials and is too small to recycle. Floss picks are also non-recyclable.
There are eco-friendly dental floss options available. You can choose from a wide variety of floss that utilizes silk and tape alternatives to flossing. These options are completely biodegradable and healthy for the environment and you!
Sometimes purchasing environmentally-conscious products is not a viable option. Many popular dental product manufacturers have created innovative ways to save the environment.
Recently, Terracycle and Colgate have partnered to create a national recycling program. This program recycles all dental products and packaging, not just Colgate. Crest and Oral B have made a similar program where users obtain a free shipping label and ship their dental products to Crest and Oral B.
These are simple ways to proactively protect the environment and keep your teeth healthy and clean at the same time.
The Benefits of Recycling
The benefits far outweigh the consequences.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy, prevents pollution, and creates jobs. If something as simple as recycling your old toothbrush can save the environment and create jobs, why not do it?
How Cobblestone Can Help
You’ve heard the saying, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”
It still holds true today. When you look up eco-friendly dental products online, several brands will market for your attention and tell you that their products are the best. Do your research and consult with your dentist about which products are best for you. No one knows your teeth or dental products better than your dentist.
At Cobblestone Park Family Dental, our dental professionals will help you find the best dental options for your teeth and the environment. Schedule an appointment at our Oklahoma City office by calling (405) 603-8520.