Some weeks ago, I started to outline some more eco-friendly options for your hair- and skincare. Now, at long last, here is “Step 2”.
Most dentists advise us to replace our toothbrushes every three months. Let’s get the numbers right: that would be an estimated four toothbrushes per annum for every single person. So, a staggering 150 million plastic toothbrushes are discarded in the UK alone every year. Given that not all of the nearly 8 billion people teeming on this planet use a toothbrush, it is still thought that globally we tend to use about 3.22 billion of them a year. Include those that are discarded after just one use or those given out on aeroplanes wrapped again tenfold in cellophane. The problem with recycling these bristly plastic things is the hybrid materials that have been used to make them. A toothbrush is a combination of plastic, nylon and rubber, which means it is difficult to pigeonhole them and find the right recycling bin. And even if one council happened to be switched on enough, there is a high probability not everyone government body would follow suit.
There are currently several different brands of bamboo toothbrushes on the market.
- Hydrophil. My personal favourite so far. Natural, mineral oil-free dyes, bristles made from castor oil and ethical manufacture. It feels good in your hand and cleanses your teeth nicely.
- The Truthbrush. Another favourite. Aesthetically appealing as far as toothbrushes go and comfortable to use 🙂 Castor oil-based bristles, sustainable organic bamboo and cardboard pillow pack. What more do you want?
- Save some green. Good enough and a bit cheaper, but a bit like the ugly duckling compared to the above. Well worth it though and does the job. Bristles are nylon 4, allegedly biodegradable.
- Livecoco electric toothbrush heads. If you feel you want or need to go electric (I mix it and brush manually in the morning and electrically at night) this a very good option. The black charcoal running down your chin whilst brushing may not be for everyone, but you can also use the heads with your preferred toothpaste. Livecoco offers a recycling scheme.
- Humble Brush or Environmental Bamboo brush. They are biodegradable and made from a renewable source. The hairs though are still made from nylon fibres
- There is only one so far on the market from German-based Life Without plastic which uses pig’s hairs. Smelly and not very appealing for various reasons, esp. if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
- Another possibility would be to opt for a toothbrush made from recyclable plastic such as the Source toothbrush.
# 2 Toothpaste
We probably don’t want to go back to “toothsoap# as shown in the vintage picture above, but when it comes to toothpaste it is best to go for more natural options which are also SLS and other potentially harmful chemicals.
# 3 Mouthwash and floss
When you are looking for mouthwash go for those in glass bottles or tablet form. And dental floss is available in a refillable glass tube and made from either sustainable bamboo fibre, PLA (plant-based bioplastic) or responsibly sourced silk.
# 4 Dental care au naturel?
What more can you do to ensure a healthy smile?
I’m not suggesting you try chewing on twigs and mint to replace your ordinary dental hygiene, but you can also give the Ayurvedic tradition of oil pulling a shot to supplement your routine. Scientific validations of the Ayurveda dental health practises could justify their incorporation into modern dental care.
I am currently working on improving a homemade toothpaste recipe which I will share with you in due course.
Happy toothbrushing 🙂