There are countless ways to make our daily routines more eco-friendly. Even your oral hygiene routine could be better for the environment! Considering how much climate change can affect our food and health, it may be in our best interest to go green. Read on to learn about some easy, cost-effective ways you can take care of your smile while also being good to our planet right here in Mission Viejo.
It is highly recommended that you brush your teeth at least 2 times per day to maintain a healthy mouth. However, all those disposable plastic toothbrushes usually end up in landfills. While there are some pretty wacky alternatives (like toothbrushes with boar’s hair for bristles or this chewing stick), there are plenty of easy switches you can make to save the planet!
- Preserve toothbrushes are brushes with handles made out of recycled yogurt cups. The brushes come in different colors and levels of stiffness, so there is bound to be something for everyone’s preferences. You can find these toothbrushes online, or while you’re picking up groceries at Trader Joe’s! The best part? They only cost about $3 each! You can recycle your preserve toothbrush once you’re ready for the next one, or you can send them back to Preserve for recycling. For every 6 toothbrushes you send back to them, you’ll get a $6 coupon! If you’re stopping by New Generation Dentistry for a checkup, you can drop by the Trader Joe’s down Santa Margarita Parkway. There are tons of Trader Joe’s in Mission Viejo, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to recycle these brushes when you’re done with them.
- Another option to consider is a bamboo-handled toothbrush. This one is available for one-time purchase or through a subscription. The whole product, including all of the shipping material, is biodegradable! There are plenty of bamboo-handled options out there, so shop around for one with the colors and stiffness you want!
- You can also forgo the disposable toothbrush handle altogether and opt for a more long-term toothbrush with replaceable heads. Though this option requires more money upfront, the brush handles last much longer and you may actually save money in the long run! You can also choose to purchase a subscription service, so you get a new brush head shipped directly to your door when it’s time to replace your old one. This one is also made from recycled paper and wood, and comes in a travel size version! Electric toothbrushes cost a little more but can last even longer and often provide a deeper cleaning.
- If you have an electric toothbrush, there’s a different procedure for recycling. Since electronic waste, such as batteries, can release potentially harmful chemicals, you’ll want to bring those parts to a recycling center specifically for electronics. In order to recycle an electric toothbrush, you’ll need to take it apart and separate the components. Metal, plastic, batteries, and cords need to be processed separately. Once this is completed, you can give the batteries to any Call2Recycle location – there’s one at Home Depot on Hillcrest in Mission Viejo. You can then drop off the rest of the parts at Go Green E-Waste, located in Irvine.
Be cautious about biodegradable bristles, as some options can be too abrasive on our enamel. If you are considering a less conventional bristle material, consult with your dentist to make sure your teeth will still benefit from your eco-friendly choice. For kids, make sure to check with the pediatric dentist first before you make the switch. Young children may have more sensitive gums and teeth than adults, according to Dr. Chen at Kids Healthy Teeth, a pediatric dentist in Katy, TX.
To properly brush your teeth, you need a good toothpaste! There are plenty of natural, effective toothpaste options on the market.
- The Goodwell Company makes a vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, sustainably harvested option called Pacific Mint. This one is inexpensive and easy to order – the company even makes other eco-friendly oral hygiene products you can buy as a bundle! This one gets bonus points for the entirely recyclable packaging, which can be recycled at home in the same can as your aluminum products,
- There are other options available in your local grocery and health food store, and there is sure to be one that meets your specific dental needs. EWG also keeps a searchable database of toothpastes and other hygiene products that can help you find products without harmful chemicals or excessive plastic waste in them.
- Even if you’re using a big name brand, standard toothpaste, you can recycle the tube through Colgate’s Terracycle program! You can collect and ship all of your oral hygiene products and their packaging (with the exception of electronics) to your closest Terracycle center. The shipping is even free!
Flossing is also an important part of a good oral hygiene routine. Unfortunately for the environment, you can’t really reuse floss. It typically comes in unnecessarily bulky plastic packaging too. Luckily, there are some more eco-friendly options!
- Tom’s of Maine sells an all-natural ADA approved dental floss that is biodegradable and comes in Earth-friendly packaging. This one earned the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance in 2017, so you know you’re not sacrificing effectiveness for eco-friendliness!
- If you’re a fan of single-use plastic flossers, these ones from the GoodWell company are completely biodegradable and compostable! Flossers are convenient and portable, and this one even comes with an attached toothpick piece.
As for all the cardboard packaging that dental hygiene products use, you can easily toss them in the recycle bin and the Mission Viejo curbside waste management service will pick them up for you.
We only have one planet, so let’s do what we can to take care of it. If you have questions about what ingredients you need to address your individual dental needs, schedule a consultation with our Mission Viejo dentist, Dr. Sasha, today!