Taking care of your dental health is super important, but it often comes at the expense of the environment. Plastic toothbrushes have been considered normal for us for decades. Now, those decades are leading to hundreds of pounds of toothbrushes in landfills. Most of those toothbrushes will take hundreds of years to break down properly, and not enough people are recycling to combat this issue. The dental industry uses plastic as one of its main sources for products and tools of the trade, but not enough companies are working to develop more eco-friendly options.
Plastic has become one of the most unsustainable sources in the world. Over 50 million lbs of toothbrushes are thrown away each year, creating massive destruction for our ecosystems and harming many of the planet’s wildlife in the process, according to the EPA. However, some companies are beginning to develop more sustainable sources to help reach out and solve this issue in their own way. Through this short guide, you’ll be able to make more eco-friendly choices about your toothbrush, your oral habits and help the environment become more sustainable.
How To Find a Sustainable Toothbrush
Making changes to your oral routine is a great way to begin helping the environment, especially in regard to water waste and plastic production. Water waste can be easily reduced by cutting down the amount of water used while brushing and flossing your teeth, as, on average, a person wastes over 32 gallons of water per day. Some products such as floss containers and toothpaste tubes can be reused or recycled to be better utilized. However, when it comes to toothbrushes, choosing the right one can be a tricky subject, especially if the brand claims to be sustainable but actually isn’t.
Toothbrushes, to be best designed to clean our teeth, often have to meet FDA and ADA standards of care. These standards of care are designed to keep people’s oral health in check and protect people’s teeth from damage. Through this, the design and material of the toothbrush need to be taken into account. However, not many sustainable sourced toothbrushes meet ADA acceptance standards, and with that comes some issues.
Whether you’re looking for a toothbrush that meets ADA standards or looking for one that meets your environmental needs, it’s important to be wary of how products are advertised. Studies from Colombia University state that the term “biobased materials” often tries to imply that it will degrade over time, when in fact, those materials won’t always degrade into organic compounds. Because not all of the materials will degrade over time, it means that even those biobased materials will still sit in landfills for hundreds of years. Only 10 percent of the world’s plastic is recycled, so being aware of what your products mean can have an impact overall on the environment and your pocket.
What Toothbrushes Work Best For Sustainability?
There are some recommendations for toothbrushes that meet ADA standards and environmental standards, including
- RADIUS Brand Toothbrushes: Made from yield trees, the RADIUS brand has a safe-for-children brand design that’s sustainable.
- Electric toothbrushes: These toothbrushes overall waste less plastic but still contribute to polluting the environment through battery usage.
- Bamboo toothbrushes: Although not ADA approved, some bamboo toothbrushes can be ethically sourced depending on the brand.
For more information, get yourself an appointment with your dentist today to learn more about sustainable oral care.