Every year the human population grows, and with it, the number of people keeping to a regular dental hygiene routine. As more people join the human race, our impact on the Earth is becoming ever more severe, and many of us are trying to take steps to tread more lightly as a result. In this pursuit, we may not consider our dental hygiene as a significant problem, but in that, we would be mistaken. Every year an immense amount of plastic waste is created from discarded toothbrushes, floss containers, and mouthwash bottles. Thankfully there are environmentally safe alternatives you can consider.
3 pounds of hidden plastic waste is produced from manufacture to disposal of your average toothbrush
The Growing Environmental Impact of the Dental Hygiene Industry
The recommendations put forth by the ADA have been proven, if followed closely, to have an immensely positive impact on our oral health. The dark side to these benefits is the sheer amount of waste that is created as a byproduct of the items used while doing so. It’s essential that we maintain good oral health practices, but recognizing the impact it has on our environment is the primary step to finding ways to reduce that impact. Consider the following ways that our dental care products have an effect:
- 50m pounds of plastic waste results from discarding plastic toothbrushes each year
- A football stadiums worth of plastic waste comes from floss containers
- Mouthwash bottles are a significant source of dental-related plastic waste
- Water left running while brushing wastes four gallons of drinking water
- Electric toothbrushes add batteries to the waste produced by dental care
Traditional methods of taking care of our oral hygiene produce plastic waste that can remain for centuries before breaking down completely. In the process, it will produce microparticles of plastic that find their way into drinking water, sea life, and even on our beaches. This problem won’t solve itself, so it’s important we find ways to minimize our impact.
The decay period of dental floss is as much as eight decades.
How To Lower Your Impact
Ongoing research on a number of products used for dental care indicates that better results may be possible by consistently using your finger and tongue to brush your teeth after water. Combining this with a swish of water has shown significant positive effects on oral health. Those who prefer to stick to more traditionally accepted practices can look into environmentally safe alternatives, including mulberry silk floss, mouthwash tablets, and mulberry silk floss that comes in reusable containers. There are many options like this that have the full support of the American Dental Association and have proven to be just as effective as their more-traditional counterparts. Consider taking steps to reduce the amount of waste your dental care produces.