Kids these days are more aware of what’s going on in the world and with our planet than ever. This has led to many urging their families to find ways to be more environmentally sustainable. One place that you can start is in your medicine cabinet and your dental supplies. Within your medicine cabinet can be found an extensive range of products packaged in plastic. Once the contents are wrapped up and thrown into the garbage, an immense amount of waste is produced. Think about how many times you replace the toothpaste each year, or buy new bottles of mouthwash, or need another box of floss. All of these containers will be slowly degrading over decades or centuries in a landfill. A little attention to what we use to take care of our teeth can have a huge impact on the world.
Keeping Our Smile, and Our World, Beautiful
Some decades ago, the American Dental Association released an effective set of guidelines for oral hygiene. This guide provided very effective techniques for keeping our smiles beautiful. Unfortunately, some of the tips also had the unintended consequence of increasing waste plastic. While these rules for good oral health should still be adhered to, you and your family can make decisions that lessen the impact on the environment. Being more sustainable with oral hygiene means paying a little extra attention to our water habits:
- Stop the faucet while you brush your teeth
- Rinse your mouth out only after you’ve flossed
- Rinse your mouth out without leaving the tap on
Each of these steps will take as much as 4 gallons of water out of how much you use while brushing. Twice each day, this amounts to a total of 8 gallons per person per day. This can amount to over a thousand gallons a month of water use for each member of your household. In addition to reducing water waste, you’ll also be saving money if you are on the city water system.
Eliminating plastic is almost as easy. You just have to note the products that you use for oral hygiene. Most dental products contain or are packaged in a significant amount of plastic. The floss itself is made from a plastic called nylon and comes in a plastic container. Toothbrushes alone amount to nearly 50 million tons of plastic waste annually. That number doesn’t account for mouthwash containers, floss, and its container, or other dental care products. Thankfully you can reduce your plastic output with just a little thought:
- Mulberry Silk Floss – You can find floss produced from natural silk that comes in a container that is made of recyclable metal. This floss degrades naturally and quickly, which is definitely more effective than trying to reuse floss. Never do this. Floss can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Bamboo Toothbrush – Using materials that naturally degrade in landfills is another good option. Toothbrushes made of bamboo break down, and bamboo is very renewable. It does come with a regrettable increase in water costs to make it, however. Even the bristles on bamboo toothbrushes are made from renewable resources.
- Mouthwash Tablets – Mouthwash tablets are a good way to reduce plastic waste from mouthwash. These tablets come in a tube that is recyclable and doesn’t require water to use. It helps battle bacteria, freshen breath, and reduce plastic waste all in one go.
Electric toothbrushes were thought to be a good way to avoid waste for a while. However, it became clear that the batteries themselves were an environmental problem. The replaceable heads also account for a significant amount of waste.
Speak To Your Dentist For Other Earth Healthy Options
Dentists know a lot about the various dental products on the market today. They can serve as an excellent source of guidance and can ensure your teeth are protected as well. If you haven’t already, schedule your next visit today. Scribble down a list of questions and concerns to take to them during your visit.