Working in the dental field I get to see first hand how much waste we create by using essential everyday items.
Plastic toothbrushes, floss, bags, and all the single-use items such as suctions, bibs, and packaging.
For the most part, we can’t be perfect but we can try our best. Every little bit counts right? Especially at home in our own bathrooms.
Here is how I made my own bathroom a little more eco-friendly;
- Zero-waste floss
- Bamboo toothbrush
- Saltwater rinse
- Turn that darn tap off!
- Miswack stick
- Natural Toothpaste
- I switched to a zero-waste floss that comes in a glass bottle. And it even biodegrades 60-90 days after use.
- I am a firm believer in my electric toothbrush so that’s not going anywhere. Although, the brush heads are less waste than traditional manual toothbrushes.
If you don’t use an electric toothbrush, or you like to travel with a manual toothbrush, try looking for a bamboo toothbrush. Made from sustainable materials and does not produce plastic waste.
- Skip the mouthwash and make a homemade saltwater rinse. This mixture actually pulls out the water in the bacterial cell and causes it to die. So this is a very natural way to help cleanse your mouth. Warm salt water rinses have been proven to be gentle on the mouth’s tissues and promote healing. You only need to do this about 3-4 times a week.
You can make a saltwater rinse by warming up a cup of water and stirring in about a teaspoon of salt until it dissolves. You need to swish around a mouthful for around 10 seconds and spit. Repeat until the cup is done and do not rinse your mouth out with water after.
If you have a salt restriction, you won’t want to do the saltwater rinse.
- Turn that darn tap off! You really do not need to have it running while you are brushing your teeth. You could save about 760 litres of water each month!
- In some countries, a toothbrush is actually not even used. Instead, they use a miswack stick. You chew on the end of the stick and the fibres start to separate. These fibres are actually naturally more thin than synthetic toothbrush bristles and can actually clean more effectively than a normal manual toothbrush. Here is a study that was done comparing the miswack stick to a toothbrush and the results are evident; the miswack provides the superior clean!
I did try using one when I was in Tanzania educating the locals on oral health.
We actually got to pick off a branch of their native “toothbrush tree” also known as Salvadora persica.
We took our branch cutting and shaved a bit of bark off the end. Next, we then bit and twist the end of our cutting and before we knew it we were brushing our teeth!
From the planet, back to the planet, NO plastic waste. And let me tell you, it did an amazing job!
The area where it is abundant in Tanzania, there is actually naturally occurring fluoride in the ground that ends up in the tree itself. So this toothbrush comes along with its own cavity-fighting powers!
- Use natural toothpaste. Some natural kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride, but no other chemicals or additives. This Burt’s Bees natural toothpaste with fluoride is amazing!
There is another change that you can make but this one is outside your bathroom. Ask your dental office what measures they are taking to reduce waste in the office.
Is their charting system paperless, do they take digital X-rays? Do they have a recycling plan?
I can say that somethings are unavoidable like instrument packaging and polishing cup. Especially when a patient’s health and safety is the most important factor, proper sterilization is of top priority for the health and safety of both employees and patients.
You don’t need to change everything at once, take it one step at a time.
Every little bit counts.