Find Out How Changing Your Dental Hygiene Routine Can Help The Earth
Everywhere you look in your bathroom, you’re going to find a significant amount of plastic products. Your shampoo bottles, hand soap dispenser, and of course, all of your dental hygiene products are made of plastic. From the handles on your toothbrush to the nylon that the floss you use to clean between your teeth is made of, it’s absolutely everywhere. Many people are increasingly concerned about making choices that are environmentally conscious these days, but trying to change everything at once is just overwhelming. Instead, why not try changing just your toothbrush to something more sustainable than plastic?
How Changing Your Toothbrush Is An Important First Step
How important can changing your toothbrush be? Nearly 50 million tons of waste plastic is generated each year from plastic toothbrushes alone. The guidelines initially put forth by the ADA, the American Dental Association, were very explicit about the best methods for taking care of our teeth. When these were written, they didn’t take into account the environmental impact that replacing our toothbrushes every month could have. Changing your toothbrush to a more sustainable wooden or bamboo toothbrush is a great start to helping the environment, but consider these other steps as well.
- Reduce water waste by turning off the tap while brushing
- Don’t rinse before you floss; the toothpaste can help clean between your teeth
- Use only enough water to rinse and spit after brushing, don’t leave the tap running
Just these simple steps would save countless gallons of water each day, in addition to reducing plastic waste, if everyone followed them. Consider that each person who leaves the tap running wastes up to 8 gallons per brushing. For a four-person household, that’s as much as a thousand gallons of water each month.
Floss containers, and the floss itself, are made from plastic or plastic-derived products like nylon. Each year nearly a football stadium’s worth of floss containers are discarded, and the floss itself can last for over eighty years in a landfill. Thankfully there are other alternatives, such as mulberry silk floss, that can be obtained and used. When disposed of, it quickly degrades, resulting in less waste in the environment.
Some people consider switching to electric toothbrushes, but this isn’t really a better option for the environment either. While it does serve to reduce the amount of plastic that finds its way into landfills each year, the batteries themselves are a problem. Unless properly disposed of, which they rarely are, they pose a risk of leaking caustic chemicals into the environment. While there are decidedly health benefits to using an electric toothbrush, it’s up to you whether that outweighs the greater benefit to the environment bamboo provides.
Seek Advice From Your Dentist When Choosing Alternatives
As always, your dentist remains the most reliable source of information when it comes to making decisions about your dental hygiene practice. With their guidance, you’ll be able to protect your oral health while also keeping the health of the planet and future generations in mind. Schedule a visit to your dental health provider today to get started!