We’ve created a sustainable oral hygiene routine you can copy exactly to ensure your mouth and the rest of your body are healthy!
Looking back through the history of oral health, especially in movies and reenactments from ancient and medieval times, you probably see toothless people running around everywhere with rotten teeth and gums. This of course leads us all to believe these people had terrible oral health but the truth is, people around that time actually had pretty decent oral health!
Ancient and pre-industrialized peoples had the OG sustainable oral hygiene routines and used toothpastes, powders, chews, rinses and more to keep their teeth clean and white and their breath smelling good.
Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash
As we know today brushing, flossing, and rinsing all lead to good oral health, but another factor to good oral hygiene, unsurprisingly, is diet.
In the middle ages and before, people had diets high in calcium and low in sugar which as we know is one of the leading causes of tooth decay today. As sugar began to be imported and incorporated into the ordinary person's diet, historians started to see the decline of oral health.
Without the proper oral hygiene routine, over time you can get conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease. Even more than that, other conditions such as Endocarditis, Birth Complications, Pneumonia, and more can be affected by poor oral health.
Your mouth does more than chew your food and sing your favorite songs. It’s host to tons of bacteria and keeps the good ones in and the bad ones out so the rest of your body can do its thing and thrive.
Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash
Why Create A Sustainable Oral Hygiene Routine?
Photo by Simon Shim on Unsplash
In addition to the health benefits of having a solid oral hygiene routine, think of the planet!
The MAJORITY of toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, and even floss are made from plastic. Most of these are non-recyclable unless through a special program like TerraCycle.
2. Fossil Fuels
Friendly reminder that plastic is made from fossil fuels (‘nuff said)
Since the majority of these items are non-recyclable, they’ll unfortunately end up in the trash. Around the world, 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes are tossed every year.
Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months, so over the course of an 80 year lifetime, one person will use around 312 toothbrushes. That’s only toothbrushes, not including toothpaste tubes, packaging, or anything else!
Before the doom starts to settle in, never fear! It’s totally possible to create an easy, sustainable, and affordable oral routine.
Luckily for you, we partner with amazing small businesses who are doing their best to make a positive change and leave the planet a better place.
Oral health isn’t the most glamorous of subjects, but it’s an important one and reducing even a portion of the waste that comes from having an oral routine is a noble cause worth fighting for!
How to have a Sustainable Oral Hygiene Routine
Creating a good oral hygiene routine is important and creating a sustainable one is just as important! If you can, try to implement the full routine but at the very least try subbing one or two products. You might have a special toothpaste you can’t sub out or you’ve given bamboo toothbrushes a try and it doesn’t cut it for you — that’s okay! Swap where you can and stick to what works for you. And doesn’t break the bank.
A bamboo toothbrush is the first replacement to start with. Mostly because it’s the first step to a sustainable oral hygiene routine! Bamboo is a great alternative to plastic (obviously) and traditional tree-wood because Bamboo grows to maturity in 3-4 months rather than 30+ years. Because it grows so quickly, it also doesn’t need chemicals and fertilizers to grow. The bristles on this brush are made from castor bean oil and can be recycled with the staples before tossing the rest of the brush in the compost at the end of its life.
Wet bristles, apply toothpaste (unless using tablets) and begin brushing as usual. Store in a dry place and at the end of its life, remove the staples and bristles (recycle them), and compost the handle.
We are fortunate to live in a time where there are so many sustainable options when it comes to toothpaste. If you’re just getting started or unsure where to go, try starting with these Huppy Toothpaste tabs! These tabs come in a reusable tin and when you’re ready for a replacement, the refills come in paper-pouches that are completely biodegradable and compostable!
Bite down on toothpaste tab and chew until it forms a paste. Stick your toothbrush in your mouth and brush as usual.
Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of your teeth and gums to remove leftover food and unwanted bacteria. Made from silk that is 100% sustainably sourced, this silk floss glides easily through teeth — without the need for plastic of any kind. The floss is cruelty-free by using vacated cocoons to source the silk. It comes in a reusable glass jar and refills come in paper packaging that is biodegradable and compostable. Vegan option available!
Pull floss out of jar, tear off amount needed. Wrap around fingers and begin working between each tooth.
A tongue scraper might not be part of your sustainable oral hygiene right now, but we’re here to tell you, it should be! Made from 100% stainless steel, this scraper can be used forever and recycled at the end of its life. Brushing doesn’t quite get in between the taste buds on the tongue where bacteria can build up and cause bad breath. A tongue scraper can actually help improve your taste, improve the appearance of your tongue, reduce bad breath, and help get rid of bacteria stuck on the tongue.
Stick out your tongue and place the round end of the scraper at the back of your tongue. Gently pull forward til you reach the tip. Repeat as needed and always go back to forward.
If you go to the store and look for a mouthwash, you’ll be met with giant bottles in a variety of colors — all made from plastic! Georganics is here to save the day with mouthwash tablets. Shipped in a glass container in paper packaging, they’re easy to use and involve no giant bottles, no plastic, just synthetic-free mouthwash. Bonus points for using less water. We’re currently out of stock but you can shop these tablets on Georganic’s website.
Dissolve 1 tablet in water. Mix until dissolved and gargle for at least 30 seconds. Spit out the mouthwash.
After creating the perfect sustainable oral hygiene routine, don’t forget storage! The most sustainable storage would be none at all, but that’s not always an option. That’s where ZeroWasteStore Essentials comes in with this toothbrush holder made from bamboo fiber and corn starch. Sturdy, reliable, and compostable.
Place your toothbrushes and even toothpaste tube in the holder. Make sure it stays relatively dry and clean periodically. At the end of its life it’s compostable!
No matter where you’re at on your zero waste journey, having a sustainable oral routine is good for you, your health, and the planet. Being that it’s a journey, go easy on yourself and incorporate sustainable options and changes as you can and on your own time. There’s no rush, no judgement, and no timeline to make these changes — just you and what fits into your life.