Today, we are talking about our pearly whites. Our gnashers. Our toothy pegs. I am back with the next instalment of my sustainable living series. In this series I hope to give you inspiration on how your products you use daily, can be more sustainable. I am all about those small changes. We really have gone top to toe, and anywhere in between with this series! We have talked, amongst others things, about periods, pits and pampering! Now I am turning my attention to teeth brushing. The ritual that we all do at least a couple of times per day. I am introducing you to the eco friendly dental products that I use. I also hope to give you a little insight into why we should consider trying to make this 2-3 minute daily ritual, more eco friendly.
*Please note, some of these products were sent to me by LiveCoCo to try. I had no obligation to post, but as they are now a much loved part of my daily routine, I wanted to share.
It is said that after the kitchen, the bathroom is the hardest place to make as low waste as possible. I of course accepted that challenge, so have been making changes over the last few years. Some have been harder to find my way with than others. In the early days of eco friendly dental products, the best offering toothpaste wise was chewable tablets that tasted and felt like chewing chalk! Thankfully, we have come a long way!!!!
Plastic toothbrushes have a 100-1000 year lifespan, so sit in landfill/our oceans etc
Why should we look at eco friendly dental products?
Brushing our teeth is an essential part of our day, but can actually produce a fair bit of waste. Most of which goes straight to landfill. So, as I always do in this series, I like to try to give you a little insight into what making a switch can help Mother Nature with. I always find that when I understand why I am doing something, it gives me the motivation to make the change. So, I thought I would share with you some of the issues that simply brushing our teeth, can contribute to.
So, let’s start with some simple facts and figures;
- A plastic toothbrush can take between 100 and 1000 years to break down
- It is estimated that conventional dental routines add 500 million kg of waste to landfill every year worldwide!!!!
- The average person can go between 150-280 toothbrushes in their lifetime
- Toothbrushes also come in plastic, which again, ends up in landfill
- Most conventional toothpastes are tested on animals
- Dental floss is mostly un-tearable, so can (and has) caused problems to wildlife
- Conventional toothpaste tubes do not break down for about 500 years
- Many discarded toothbrushes end up in our Oceans, harming marine life
But it is not all doom and gloom. Sales in eco friendly dental products have increased year on year, by about 10% over the last 5 years. People are becoming so much more aware. There are also more and more items coming onto the market that are sustainable. The products are much better than they used to be too! It really does give me hope!
So let me introduce you to my own low waste routine. I have been trying out eco friendly dental products for a few years, with varying levels of success. My first venture was about 5 years ago with oil pulling. Anyone try oil pulling?? I had read about it in a book on Ayurvedic treatments I’d read. Willing to try anything in my pursuit of being kinder to our little planet, I gave it a go. Spooning coconut oil into my mouth each morning, was not great for this weak stomached girl. It was a disaster. I had to give up on that one after three weeks of routinely gagging, with eyes streaming, feeling like I had furry teeth and becoming a hot mess every morning! I could not cope with coconut oil in my mouth first thing. Nope. Not for me! Let me tell you what has worked though.
My Favourite Eco Friendly Dental Products
Well, unless you have been under a rock, you would know about bamboo toothbrushes. The combustable, sustainable alternative to your plastic offering. I have one that I use when I travel, (just an fyi – I love it because the bristles feel softer, which is a nice change). But was you aware that you can get eco friendly electric toothbrush heads?? I know, revolutionary right? I have used an electric toothbrush for years, and could not give it up. The toothbrush itself is not the problem as they often have a lifespan of years. I did feel guilt over the plastic brush heads though…
So I was over the moon when I discovered that LiveCoco (which stands for Live COnscious COnsumer, fun fact) have eco friendly brush heads! They are suitable for most Oral B, round head toothbrushes, (I have this one) and are the dream! I first discovered these in Holland and Barrett, so made the switch about a year ago. They work in exactly the same way as the heads from Oral B, just not with the same 1000 year life span! They even have a soft bristle option of you are on the more sensitive side. I love them. You can simply send them back to LiveCoco to be recycled. No adding to landfill. Win!
Eco Friendly Floss;
Most dental floss is made of nylon, which is a plastic product. It does not break down. So, that floss you used when you were 8 years old? Well it is still floating around with your Disney Princess/Bob the Builder/whatever-else-you-had toothbrush somewhere. Floss is flushed down the toilet by most people, so is on the one way road to our waterways. Smashing!
Traditional dental floss is also usually housed in a plastic holder. Again, that bad boy ends up in landfill too. Are you seeing the picture emerge of how our 10 minutes in the bathroom looking after our teeth can be an eco pain in the planet?? Surprising eh! The first emergence of more sustainable floss was made from silk. As a vegan, I avoid silk (no silk worms boiled on my behalf thank you), so this was not an ideal solution for me. Thankfully LiveCoCo has made their eco friendly floss from corn fibre and vegan wax. It also comes in a glass jar, that you can just buy refills for. No plastic at all.
The refillable glass jar the eco floss comes in means no plastic waste
After my oil pulling disaster, I was still trying to find a more planet friendly solution to traditional toothpaste. Like I mentioned, I was not a fan of toothpaste tablets when they first came out. They were gritty and chalk like in texture. They did not make my mouth feel refreshed at all! In fact, I am pretty sure one or two of my smiles in those days had white blobs stuck in my teeth. Classy!
I have tried many now, and they have all improved vastly! There are a few brands that I love, (LiveCoco, Georganics, DENTabs). I have found these ones are not over powering in their taste, not chalkiness and disolve to a mild foam pretty easy.
Eco Teeth Whitening.
The last in my eco friendly dental products run down is this little pot of wonder. I LOVE it! It is an activated charcoal powder, made from coconut shells! Coconut shells are often left over once the coconut flesh has been used, so it is great to see products being made from it. Double sustainability points! This powder is a natural teeth whitener. You use it before brushing your teeth.
Now, a word of caution, it can be messy! I have a totally white bathroom, and this jet black powder shows up on it a treat! It is easily rectified as I just wipe my sink over after brushing my teeth. However, I would make the suggestion that “should” you happen to have someone in your house that you are hoping to impress, (ahem)….do not let them see you mid charcoal powder usage. You will resemble a swamp monster/zombie/being from another world. The magic will be gone and they may be out the door…..
All joking aside. It is my first experience of a natural tooth whitener, and I love it. I 100% saw improvements in the brightness of my teeth after about 3 weeks. I am not talking full on veneers Hollywood smile, but just a lift to the whiteness. It does not taste of anything, so there is nothing to report there. You just wet your toothbrush, dip it into the powder (you need the tiniest amount), and brush for about a minute. Then rinse, and brush your teeth as normal. Ta-daaaaaa!
Well, that concludes my run down of my eco friendly dental products. Live CoCo really are passionate about changing our dental habits. Of course, everything comes in totally planet friendly packaging! I hope this post has been useful. Finding the recyclable electric tooth brush heads was a game changer for me. It was my last stumbling block in making my at-home dental care more sustainable. There is even a subscription service available on them that saves you 25%. I would recommend them fully if you to cannot give up your electric toothbrush. I would love to hear if you have any eco friendly dental products that you love.
I feel like I can almost claim to have a totally sustainable bathroom entirely now. My last quest is to find a palm oil free, cruelty free, plastic free, sustainable bubble bath that actually bubbles! I try to shower most of the time, but when I treat myself to a bath, I want the full on luxury experience. Candles, lots of bubbles (in my bath and in a glass…), face mask, the full she-bang. It is proving very difficult to find a perfect bath foam so if you know one, please let me know!