A better environment starts little by little with eco-friendly choices and sustainable daily practices. While you’re keeping your mouth healthy, why not take some steps to help keep the Earth healthy, too?
Seventy percent of Earth is covered in water, but only a surprising 1 percent is suitable for human consumption. Make the most of our limited water supply by turning off the water while you brush, and you might save up to 200 gallons per month!
You can apply the same idea to other parts of your daily routine. Try shutting off the tap while scrubbing your hands, taking showers instead of baths and only running the dishwasher when it’s full.
Toothbrush disposal is another opportunity for sustainable oral health practices. Traditional toothbrushes are typically made with hard-plastic handles and soft nylon bristles that can take hundreds of years to decompose.
Dentists recommend switching to a new toothbrush every three or four months, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw yours away. Find ways to reuse old toothbrushes. The bristles are perfect for cleaning hard-to-reach places and for polishing jewelry. They also make great paintbrushes for craft projects.
With a little bit of searching, you can find eco-friendly replacements for your current toothbrush. Try opting for toothbrushes made of recycled plastic. Some companies make traditional toothbrushes with replaceable heads to decrease plastic waste. If you use an electric toothbrush, replacement heads come standard, so you only have to throw away part of your toothbrush when you need a new one.
When creating an eco-friendly oral health routine, floss is another element to consider. Most floss is made of nylon fibers that don’t biodegrade and are too small to be processed by normal recycling plants. Floss containers and floss picks are considered mixed materials that can’t be recycled.
Despite the challenges, there are options for flossing with the environment in mind. Instead of nylon floss, choose floss made from silk. It’s biodegradable and can be composted naturally. You can purchase floss that comes in recyclable or reusable containers, too.
Several organizations work with consumers and dentists’ offices to recycle old toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads, floss picks and more. These materials can be repurposed into plastic lumber and other consumer products. Search online to get involved or call your dentist’s office to see if it participates in any recycling programs.
Celebrate National Earth Day on April 22!
Make simple changes to your oral health habits to help maintain an environment that makes everyone smile.