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How To Follow An Environmentally Safe Oral Hygiene Routine

Toothbrush on a shoreline

If you’re among the growing population concerned about the health of the planet, it’s time to look in your medicine cabinet. Within, you’ll find an immense amount of plastic involved in every part of your care. Dental hygiene is no exception. Your toothpaste tubes, floss containers, and mouthwash bottles produce a significant amount of plastic waste. Most modern toothbrushes are entirely made of plastic. Every month we go through our toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash following ADA guidelines. Worse still, those same guidelines advise we replace our toothbrushes every six months. The result is a dental hygiene routine that produces immense amounts of plastic waste.

 

How To Follow An Environmentally Safe Oral Hygiene Routine

While it’s entirely possible to limit the environmental impact of your oral hygiene practice, it does take a little effort. The best way to limit the amount of plastic waste in your routine is to limit the amount of plastic you use. You can do this by changing the products you use in dental hygiene. Floss can last for up to 80 years once it gets into a landfill, and a football stadium’s worth of empty containers is used each year. Changing to mulberry silk floss in a biodegradable container can help impact this waste.

 

Mouthwash bottles are almost all plastic, but there are ways to limit your waste. One way is to switch to mouthwash in a pill form in a small metal container. These significantly reduce the water waste related to mouthwash and eliminate the wasteful plastic container. Toothbrushes also come in biodegradable forms, with bamboo being one of the most popular. However, research has shown that recycling your plastic toothbrushes may be more sustainable. Bamboo takes a lot of water to grow, and there’s less waste in recycling plastic.

 

In addition to limiting the plastic waste you produce, you can also reduce the water you use. The average person wastes up to four gallons of water while brushing their teeth. When multiplied across almost 400 million Americans, that amounts to well over a billion gallons of wasted water a year. Do your part to limit water waste by doing the following:

 

  • Turn off the tap after filling a glass with water
  • Wet your toothbrush in the water before adding toothpaste
  • Use floss before you rinse to take advantage of the toothpaste foam
  • Rinse with the water in your glass without using all of it
  • Use the remaining water to rinse your brush
  • Pour the last of the water down the sink.

 

This method will eliminate a lot of the water waste involved in the process. Between this and the tips suggested earlier for reducing your plastic waste, you’ll be helping to keep the Earth a beautiful place for generations to come.

 

A Combined Effort Can Reduce Environmental Impact

With everyone working together, we can significantly impact dental plastic waste. You can also speak to your dentist to get tips on how to reduce your impact while maintaining good oral health.

 

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