Living sustainably takes a lot of effort, but if you care about the environment, then it’s a great way to contribute towards a greater cause. For those concerned about the impact they make in their lives, brushing your teeth may not seem like too much of an issue. However, the dental industry is filled with many unsustainable sources that fill up our ocean shores and landscapes, and when we brush our teeth, we waste over 32 gallons of water each day, which amounts to 367 tons of water each year. While our toothbrushes are our biggest benefactor towards our oral health, it’s considered a bigger harm factor for our environment.
According to the EPA, over 50 million lbs of plastic toothbrushes are thrown out each, only contributing to a minor part of the massive destruction plastic has on our planet. The world’s overall waste production has created massive issues for ecosystems, and with this in mind, many dental companies have begun looking outward for better, more sustainable solutions. But how would you know which toothbrush you should use? How long should toothbrushes last before being recycled? And what’s the best ethical source we have right now for our environment and dental needs? We’re here to provide a short guide to help you gain the most out of your oral health.
What Makes A Toothbrush Sustainable?
Changing your toothbrush out is a great way to begin a more sustainable approach to your dental care. However, even when a brand claims to be Eco-friendly or sustainable, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for your teeth. Many toothbrush brands are often designed to meet ADA and FDA standards of care and safety to help people effectively brush their teeth. When meeting these standards, the design of the toothbrush, the materials it’s made from, and trial results of tested use have to be taken into consideration before being placed out into the public. But the downside to this is that not many of the approved ADA toothbrushes are made with sustainable sources.
One of the biggest issues is the claims that manufacturers use to advertise their products to more eco-minded consumers. According to studies from Colombia University, researchers cite that the “biobased materials” don’t always mean that the materials used will degrade into organic components. These materials still end up in landfills and often do as much harm as traditional plastic. Right now, only about 10 percent of the world’s plastic is recycled, so for the conscientious person, keeping an eye out for this term on products is the best way to learn more about what these terms used mean.
Options For Sustainable Toothbrushing
The key to finding sustainable toothbrushes is to look for materials that are fully biodegradable and not just made from bioplastic materials. However, these products are often hard to find. For people wanting a more balanced approach to their lives, choosing between safety and sustainability shouldn’t be a one or other scenario. Right now, these are the recommended choices we have for sustainability:
- Electric Toothbrushes: Electric toothbrushes are the most widely available toothbrush that makes less plastic waste. However, it’s the batteries that tend to also cause significant waste to the environment.
- RADIUS Brand Toothbrushes: The RADIUS brand has a safe-for-children brand design that’s made with large handles and wide brush heads. It is also considered ethically sourced because it is made from cellulose sourced from yield trees.
- Bamboo Toothbrushes: Bamboo toothbrushes don’t have an ADA seal of acceptance but are made from ethically sourced materials.
Overall, if you would like to understand more about ethical sources for dental care, then speaking with your dentist is the best possible solution.