Oral Hygiene: 3 Tips for a Plastic Free Smile
It's not always easy to find a 100% alternative that suits all your needs. And sometimes it is not yet possible. But you can always make a better, greener choice.
Floss is important for your oral hygiene. But you will most likely find either a plastic free or vegan floss. I haven't found a plastic free and vegan alternative yet, if you have please tell me!!!!
The plastic free floss comes in tin's or glass and is made of Mulberry silk. The vegan floss is mostly made of non compostable plastic. But what is actually cruelty free? Using plastic floss that might get washed into the ocean (in countries where they don't have incinerators the waste goes to landfill where birds could get entangled or it get's washed into the ocean and harm marine life) it's always possible that animals get entangled.
Since I have seen Photos from animals getting entangled in plastic lines (same size than floss) I would always opt for the compostable one. Or like Bea Johnson try to use second hand silk fabrics to make your own floss.
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!).
Mostly they are made with plastic bristles (vegan). And it is important to have good bristles to make oral hygiene a safe one, so if theres no good alternative yet, thats what we need to accept.
So it is important to remove the bristles or the whole head before throwing the bamboo into the compost. Bamboo 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 burry underneath your hedge ;)
There are a few with natural bristles too, but they might not be vegan. 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.
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 your city recycling. (But Terra Cycle has some boxes where you could collect them.).
Some people switch to tooth powder, some use tablets (you will find those in Zero Waste shops or organic shops), some make their own or use brands using aluminium tubes Like Davids (my favorite german tooth paste comes in aluminium, only the lid is plastic. I'm using it for years even before I heard about Zero Waste).
In Montreal I found tooth paste to refill!! So you see, there are alternatives out there, we just need to find them and spread the word :)
Check these products for an eco-friendly smile:
Plastic Free Toothpaste: