My Zero-Waste Oral Care Routine & Homemade Recipes
I'm going to be sharing with you my zero-waste oral care routine. Dental hygiene is an important thing to look at when we are making the transition to our low-waste lifestyle.
The tools we use in our dental hygiene routine are very much single-use plastic toothbrushes. Toothpaste packaged in plastic and floss made out of plastic wreaks havoc on our environment and marine life.
The good news is there are excellent alternatives out there. I'll be sharing with you every single tool that I use in my everyday routine.
I use Brush With Bamboo because they are known for their compostable toothbrush. In fact, they created the first-ever bamboo toothbrush.
About five years ago, I switched to their toothbrushes when I embarked on my low-waste lifestyle journey. I've stuck with them because of their ethical and sustainable business practices. They provide people with the tools they can use to help reduce everyday waste and break up with plastic.
I love my bamboo toothbrush. I'll use it for around two to three months on my teeth, but when I'm done with it, I'll make sure that I extend its life by using it inside of my home for cleaning.
I also live with a metal- and woodworker, and he likes brushes to clean out different parts of his gadgets and things that he's creating.
I encourage you to do that with not just toothbrushes but every item. See how you can extend its life and get creative so that it doesn't immediately get disposed of but can be used longer and support you in your endeavors.
In terms of disposing of your toothbrush in the most responsible way possible, I would encourage you to compost the handle. It is made out of bamboo, which will naturally degrade into the ground and turn into a great addition to your garden.
You'll want to take a pair of pliers and take out all those bristles. You can recycle them depending on if your recycling center accepts them. Also, investigate the organization TerraCycle.
They take almost every hard-to-recycle plastic. So there are options out there; you just have to do a little bit of research in terms of what's accessible and available to you and the area that you live in.
Plastic and the environment
Pretty much all plastic wreaks havoc on our environment, but some plastics are more harmful than others. Some good examples are straws and floss. Due to their shape, they tend to harm marine life more than other plastics.
Floss, in particular, can get stuck around the necks of different marine life, suffocating them. I'm sure by now we've all seen that tragic video image of the sea turtle with the straw wedged up its nose.
Make the switch over to compostable floss. I like to use a vegan corn-based floss. There are silk ones out there that are nonvegan, but just keep in mind that silk production and floss require the death of many, many worms.
I don't know about you, but I just couldn't floss my teeth in peace knowing that all these worms died, so my teeth were nice and squeaky clean between them.
I use my tongue scraper two to three times a day. Mine is made of stainless steel, and the bottom part is made of silicone. You can find completely metal ones online. This is a very effective tool for getting bacteria off your tongue.
Studies have shown that a toothbrush alone doesn't work as effectively. So adopt the scraper and scrape away.
Toothpaste is something that I get asked about a lot. I use one that I make myself. I really love to make my own toothpaste. One, because I love DIY projects, and two, because it works well for my teeth.
My toothpaste recipe focuses on remineralizing your teeth. Our teeth are indeed bones, so it's important to make sure that they are getting mineralized and treated well so that they last you for years to come.
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup bentonite clay
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons xylitol
- 7 drops peppermint oil
Mix everything together until smooth.
Mouthwash is another example of something that I DIY for my dental hygiene routine. I love my recipe because it only requires three ingredients and does a great job giving that extra clean and fresh breath.
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking soda
- 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil
Place the ingredients in a glass jar and shake until everything is well-mixed. Shake before each use.
Standard gum is made from petroleum. So you're actually just chewing plastic and swallowing the juices from that plastic. There are also synthetic flavors and all kinds of garbage in standard gum.
My recommendation for you would be compostable gum that is made with very minimal and all-natural ingredients. I personally use Spry. I can upcycle the container after using it.
If you're someone who doesn't want to do the whole gum thing, there are some natural things that you can use. Fennel seeds help freshen your breath, but they also help with digestion. Fennel seeds are commonly found in Indian or Pakistani restaurants.
Another idea for you is fresh herbs. Mint and peppermint are great examples of fresh herbs that you can carry around with you to chew during the day. Do note that you will want to swish water in your mouth after having those fresh herbs because they can get stuck in your teeth.
Zero-waste oral care
Every little bit helps when you switch from a plastic item to a zero-waste item. Have you swapped out any of your oral care items for zero-waste alternatives? Share your suggestions in the comments below.