Bamboo toothbrush and other eco-friendly options for oral care

Bamboo toothbrush & co: Low waste oral hygiene

It’s not always easy to find a 100% alternative that suits all your needs. And sometimes it is not yet possible. But a lot of times it can be possible to make a better, greener, happier choice.

1) Floss:

Floss is important for your oral hygiene. But you will most likely find either a plastic free or vegan floss. So think about what your priority is and make your choice.

The plastic free floss comes in tin’s or glass and is made of real silk.
The vegan floss is mostly made of plastic. I found some they claimed to have bamboo floss but they also had a great portion of plastic in the floss.

While traveling a lot I am visiting a lot of countries with no “safe” landfills.
So I personally chose the plastic free, natural, compostable silk option. Because the thought of animals getting entangled in my plastic floss is a nightmare for me…

2) Toothbrush:

You can find bamboo toothbrushes in a lot of organic shops and zero waste stores or eco friendly online stores by now. You can even find some made of recycled plastic, made of recycled money, etc. I just wait for the first supermarket to get them in stock!

Mostly  Bamboo Toothbrushes come wrapped in paper and carton (the recycled ones still come in plastic) or in compostable plastic bag (not all city composts take these bags though, check with your local compost facility if they take compostable plastic before buying!).

The bristles are mostly made with plastic. But you can also find some with natural bristles. 

Nylon Bristles

So if you have plastic bristles, it is important to remove the bristles or the whole head before throwing the bamboo into the compost. Bamboo can be burned and is compostable, but some city composts don’t take them because the compost too slow. So check with them. You can still use them to label veggies in your garden or burn them, or just cut in small pieces and bury underneath your hedge 😉

Let’s face it, bamboo toothbrushes are not the cheapest toothbrushes, but please don’t stress.
My boyfriend reacted with bleeding irritations on the tongue and inside cheeks after using a bamboo toothbrush, so we bought a toothbrush for him where you only need to dispose the head. Still plastic (also a little PE in the packaging), but like the Bamboo brushes only the bristles/head will get disposed. 

Terra cycle

I was very happy with my bamboo toothbrushes, but then I had a dentist appointment and my gum is not very healthy so he suggested an electric toothbrush… So yes, I opted for an electric toothbrush. Our health is always important! I hear a lot that people actually feel guilty when buying medications in plastic, but jeeeeez, thats wrong!!! We can control a lot of things, we can reduce single use plastic in our daily life, but hell yes, plastic is an awesome material when it comes to health! So don’t ever stress about plastic when it means it can help you to stay healthy!

Luckily there are recycling options for a lot of things, so if you are still using plastic toothbrushes, and your tooth paste comes in plastic I really suggest to check on Terra Cycle if they have a program in your country for oral care products. Or google if there might be any other recycling program in your city or country where you can send it too.

3) Toothpaste:

I have seen amazing organic and natural toothpastes in a lot of northern American supermarkets. But they all come in plastic tubes! Non recyclable in most city recycling facilities. (But Terra Cycle has some boxes where you could collect them.).

Some people switch to tooth powder, some use toothpaste tablets (you will find those in Zero Waste shops, online or organic shops), some make their own or use brands using aluminum tubes Like Davids. My favorite is a German tooth paste that comes in aluminum, only the lid is plastic. I’m using it for years even before I heard about Zero Waste.
I also have toothpaste tablets. You need to chew on them with some spit and then you can brush your teeth. 

Don’t make the mistake to compare toothpaste powder or tablets with conventional toothpaste. They are different. Have you seen what kind of ingredients there are in conventional toothpaste? But if natural toothpaste taste different or are not as foamy as conventional ones, that doesn’t mean they are not as effective….

In Montreal, I found tooth paste to refill and tablets in bulk!! So if there is a zero waste store in your town, they might offer refill too.

Last but not least you can also make your own-> DIY toothpaste

Outdoor Tip:

Don’t spit your toothpaste into wild waters. Use the bush a few meters away. Even if you use “biodegradable” “natural” toothpaste, it doesn’t belong into wild waters.
(The same goes for shampoo and soap!!)

Learn more about a responsible hiking/camping/travel/backpacking here:
Leave no trace, Zero Waste Camping, Responsible travel guide

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