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How To Make Your Dental Hygiene Routine Sustainable

Toothbrush on the beach

In every part of our daily hygiene routine, you can find plastic, and it’s become increasingly clear that plastic is terrible for our environment. From the packaging for the toothbrushes to the tubes used for our toothpaste, plastic is everywhere. Mouthwash and floss containers just add to the problem, making dental hygiene a major contributor to the plastic problem. Add on the fact that many people leave the water running while they do their routine, and up to four gallons of water are wasted as well. With a little attention to our routine, we can eliminate plastic and environmental impact from our dental care.

Poor brushing often occurs when people try racing the faucet rather than turning it off

Ways To Reduce Your Impact On The Environment While Brushing

A common concern stressed by environmentally conscious dental patients is how to reduce the impact they have on the environment. This growing concern has led to a search for new techniques in dental hygiene care that can reduce the amount of plastic waste that’s produced. Each of the following steps provides options for taking care of your teeth while limiting your overall impact.

  • Get your toothbrush wet, and then cut off the water until it’s time to rinse

  • Rather than rinsing your mouth after brushing, simply spit it out

  • Use floss to clean between your teeth, spreading the toothpaste into the spaces between your teeth

  • Switch to using mouthwash tablets instead of bottled mouthwash

  • Now rinse your mouth with water from the tap

Each step ensures you get the most out of your brushing experience without only one potential change to the products you use while brushing. Go the extra mile by picking up mulberry silk floss and a reusable metal container and perhaps invest in a toothbrush made from bamboo. Some research suggests that you can get a lot of mileage out of brushing your teeth with your fingers and tongue and a splash of water as well.

Leaving your faucet running results in up to four gallons of water lost per person brushing

How The Plastic In Our Products Affects The Environment

While the plastic contained in our dental care products may not seem like a lot, it’s a good idea to understand the impact they have on the environment. While many of these products are recyclable, most of them will never find their way to a recycling center, often winding up in landfills instead. Much of this waste often finds its way into the ocean, where it can impact marine life even after it degrades into microplastic particles. It can often take centuries for plastic to completely degrade. The ADA has additional guidelines on brushing our teeth sustainably without impacting the effectiveness of our routine.

Dr. Karmen Massih Inspired by orthodontics at the age of 10, Dr. Karmen Massih earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at UCLA's School of Dentistry. After earning her certificates in orthodontics at the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to her hometown of Glendale, CA, to begin Massih Orthodontics, a practice dedicated to transforming smiles for people of all ages.