A quick guide to an eco-friendly oral care routine
Do you want to keep a healthy oral care routine making conscious choices to minimize negative human impact on the planet? Find here a quick & stress-free guide to an eco-friendly oral care routine, step by step.
HOW TO GET STARTED
How can you start this eco-friendly oral care routine?
First things first: what is eco-friendly? It means not harmful to the environment. And by protecting the environment we are also ensuring ourselves and future generations a better quality of life and overall health. And yes, you can be eco-friendly in your oral care routine, saving water while brushing, choosing a biodegradable toothbrush, making less waste and a few other things listed here.
Relax, there’s no need for radical changes in products and habits, like swapping every plastic in your bathroom. We propose you to look into your oral care routine following this checklist below and just commit to one single step for a given period to get consistent results and a genuine sense of change for the better.
Where do you start this eco-friendly oral care routine?
Our checklist is just a kick-off in random order. Choose whatever step is easier for you, in order not to feel the pressure, because embracing a more eco-friendly oral care is not happening overnight. Maybe you prefer to start by changing a product, or maybe you rather try a new habit. Set the tone for the day!
REDUCE WATER CONSUMPTION
Because it is a valuable resource. Don’t leave the tap running for no reason. This seems pretty obvious, but it is still a bad habit we all have in our oral care routine. Whoever is without sin, cast the first stone. In the western world we take water for granted, we urgently need to protect it and this means being more eco-friendly.
1. Turn off water while brushing your teeth.
Don’t neglect all that water going down the drain while you are brushing and possibly looking in the mirror or whatever. It’s obvious that you are wasting water when you could easily turn off the tap and save 12 litres of water every time. Incredible, isn’t it? Imagine applying it when you are shaving or taking a shower?...
2. Install a tap flow restrictor or aerator
- Wouldn’t you love to save money on your water bill and save water at the same time? Of course! So, this calls for a quick and easy installation with no specialist tools required. A simple decision towards a more eco-friendly oral care routine. You just need to choose one of these:
- A tap flow restrictor regulates the flow of water coming from your tap thus cutting your water usage by up to 50% and still giving you flow at a good pressure.
- A tap aerator can fit it onto the end of your tap or inside the spout and it will not only reduce water consumption, but by using less hot water you reduce the amount of energy required to heat that water. There’s no perceivable loss of pressure or washing ability.
3. Use a glass or mug
- The best way to save water when brushing your teeth is to use a glass or mug. And you don’t need to fill it up. You just need 250 ml.
- Wet your toothbrush by dipping it in the glass or mug and then gently brush your teeth.
- Use some of the water in the glass/mug to rinse your toothbrush.
4. Don’t rinse after brushing
Don’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing. The problem with rinsing after brushing is that it'll wash away all the benefits concentrated in the toothpaste, reducing its preventive effects. So simply spit the excess toothpaste and don’t rinse your mouth. This will help not only save more water as well as toothpaste. And be aware that it doesn’t compromise your oral health!
5. Brush twice a day
- It’s a myth that brushing often means you are taking better care of your oral health. What’s the problem with brushing after every meal (3/4 times a day)? This is your legitimate question. Well, the problem is that you are wasting more water, therefore being less eco-friendly and behold: you are not necessarily taking better care of your oral health.
- Why does brushing just twice daily isn’t harmful for your oral health? Brushing immediately after eating, especially if you have acidic foods or drinks, like orange juice, can remove the enamel on your teeth that’s been weakened by the acid. So experiment this new habit in your oral care and wait at least 30 minutes after you eat to brush your teeth.
- Good dental hygiene starts with gently brushing your teeth twice daily. At least once in the morning and once before going to bed.
- Last reminder: more important than the number of times you brush is the time spent brushing. At least two minutes with water turned off!
Keeping these tips means you’’ll be brushing the eco-friendly way and you are still looking after your oral health. Admit it: Not so hard, so far, right?
REDUCE WASTE IN ORAL CARE PRODUCTS
Because clearly it will help the environment.
Avoiding single-use plastic and less packaging is a must-do in sustainable dental hygiene. Check what you can do with the main oral care products to go more eco-friendly one step at a time.
1. Refuse plastic toothbrush and choose an eco-friendly toothbrush
- Plastic toothbrushes are essentially indestructible. They are made from polypropylene plastic (handle) and nylon (bristles) which are both sourced from non-renewable fossil fuels. Obviously this greatly affects the environment as well our health.
- The major problem is that plastic toothbrushes end up in the oceans and you can easily avoid it by choosing a biodegradable toothbrush and packaging.
- Sustainable toothbrushes are made of bamboo, recycled plastic, corn starch, wheat straw or even recycled yoghurt pots.
The pros to swap to a bamboo toothbrush
- Bamboo is naturally sustainable, organic, vegan and cruelty-free material
- Since dentists & hygienists recommend changing toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months for an healthy oral care, you might consider a reusable handle and you’ll only need to change the head and not the full toothbrush, thus minimizing waste.
- Bristles made of nylon 6 bpa free can be removed from the handle and should be correctly discarded into a plastic recycling bin. Follow 3 easy steps here.
- The bamboo handle is 100% biodegradable or you can give it a second life in useful and creative ways.
But there are also some cons of a bamboo toothbrush
We won’t lie: although bamboo is a better option than plastic, there are a few cons regarding this eco-friendly material:
- Bamboo grows mostly in China, where bamboo toothbrushes are made, therefore transport implies carbon emissions.
- Most bristles are made of nylon 6 bpa free, therefore they are non-compostable.
- Only bristles made of animal hair are biodegradable, however this isn’t a cruelty-free nor vegan option.
- A bamboo toothbrush is still a disposable item, perpetuating our throwaway society.
The good news! There’s no such thing as the perfect environmentalist. As zero-waste chef Anne Marie Bonneau claimed “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” So doing what you can is enough.
Choosing an eco-friendly toothbrush is indeed a wonderful step in your oral care routine. Keep smiling!
2. Choose an eco-friendly toothpaste & dental floss
- What’s the problem with commercial toothpastes? They contain toxic ingredients and they are impossible to recycle. One billion plastic toothpaste tubes, which include harsh chemical residues, are thrown out each year causing also a major impact on the planet and on our health. This accounts for a linear life cycle and not an eco-friendly circular one.
- Did you know that commercial toothpastes contain microplastics hardly visible to the naked eye and harmful to our health? Plus they are superfluous. Find here more useful info about these dangerous ingredients.
- Start by focusing on the ingredients. Learn to distinguish toxic from natural. If you are looking into making a positive and healthy change, we highly recommend you to choose a natural toothpaste with ingredients coming from or being made from a renewable resource found in nature (flora, fauna, mineral) with absolutely no petroleum compounds.
- Moving to the next level in your eco-friendly oral care you can look for sustainable packaging with recyclable plastic tubes, but truth be said there’s a lot of CO2 pollution involved in its production. Or you can choose aluminium tubes, widely recyclable but still there are biggest issues about the amount of energy it takes to produce it. Recycling continuously is essential to reduce the need for new aluminium.
- Toothpaste tablets are also equally eco-friendly, not only in terms of ingredients but also packaging with a zero-waste metal box which is very practical for travelling too.
- What’s the problem with dental floss? Most dental flosses found in supermarkets are made from nylon which is a petroleum compound. Every strand of traditional dental floss takes 50 to 80 years to decompose. Plus, if you flush it down the toilet, be aware that it won’t break down.
- Switch to charcoal dental floss - charcoal is a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent, it’s generally made from burning wood, therefore having a reduced environmental impact and it uses candelilla wax keeping animal exploitation out of dental care. Learn more about the unexpected advantages of black dental floss to you and the planet here.
Extra eco-friendly tip: Where do you store your oral care kit? Probably in a plastic cup or holder. Here’s another easy thing to change and improve towards a more eco-friendly oral routine. Reduce plastic in your storage habits. We suggest a pebble or a lovely bamboo holder for the bamboo toothbrush and a nice mug or natural mini tote bag for the toothpaste and dental floss.
CHOOSE CO2 COMPENSATED BRANDS & PRODUCTS
In your journey to embracing a more eco-friendly oral care routine you’ll be more aware of brands, products and services that are also committed to contributing to climate protection.
We all have a carbon footprint. Because every purchase we make, every move we make has an impact on the environment. If you are curious calculate your carbon footprint here.
- The best solution is to look for carbon offsetting brands, products and services that are committed to creating an environmental benefit by removing additional CO2 from the atmosphere and reversing global warming.
- Look for legitimate certifications and authentic registrations that companies and brands communicate on their packaging or websites. Always do the extra mile to confirm greenwashing. Check vegan official labels here; natural and organic here and the truth about cruelty-free labels.
- Choosing a CO2-compensated product or service means you are contributing to climate protection as well as promoting the social and economic situation of communities in developed countries through offset projects.
So we believe these are all small steps in your oral care routine for a greater purpose: reinforce your eco-friendly actions.
Last but not the least, this is a major single step: Don’t give up! Don’t become discouraged or frustrated! We all know that it takes effort and commitment. Do whatever you can and after a while it will become a habit.
Yes, it is an individual journey. Someone has to lead the way. So you may invite and empower family and friends to walk along with you. But mainly focus on your small daily changes that will make a big positive impact in your everyday life and on the planet.
Feel free to leave your comments below. We would love to hear your ideas and tips. Join our community!