OPINION

Simple Solutions with Chloe DuBois

Nebraska City News-Press

Eco-Friendly Dental Options 

When people think of plastic build-up in landfills and oceans they usually picture straws or food containers, but a big contributor is dental products! Toothbrushes are made up of multiple different types of plastics meaning we cannot recycle them. 

They just pile up in our landfills and take over 400 years to decompose. They also can end up hurting marine life since plastic toothbrushes make up 1% of our ocean waste. 

It would be different if we used the same brush our entire life but we are supposed to throw them away every few months, which equates to us throwing away more than 4.5 billion plastic toothbrushes each year! An easy solution to this is switching out your plastic for either bamboo brushes or electric rechargeable ones. 

Bamboo brushes are superior when it comes to sustainability since you still have to replace the plastic heads of electric toothbrushes every few months. 

You do have to replace your bamboo brush but they are compostable so there is no need to add to landfills or the ocean with them. Bamboo is fast-growing so there is not a shortage in the slightest and they do not require fertilizers or pesticides to grow. Bamboo toothbrushes are naturally antimicrobial and will fight off microbes while helping you fight off bad breath! 

We cannot forget about another crucial part of dental hygiene, flossing! 

Whether you use floss that comes in a plastic container or plastic floss picks, there are better alternatives for you. Regular floss is made of nylon or plastic and comes in containers that cannot be recycled or reused. There are eco-friendly flosses made from bamboo fibers, or silk floss coated in vegan wax. 

Not only are these options biodegradable but most companies selling these pair them with glass storage containers for them that you can simply refill when you run out. If you prefer the feel of your normal floss and don’t want to switch to glass containers you can also buy from brands like Coco Floss which sells refills so that you only have to buy the plastic container once. 

For people that use floss picks instead there is an easy fix. 

There are brands, like Happy Eco, that make identical-looking picks that are made of cornstarch and sold in 100% recycled paper packaging. Since flossing picks are single-use buying biodegradable ones will make a major impact on your contribution to our landfills! 

While floss and toothbrushes may seem small in the big scheme of our environmental issues, making these small substitutions can make a major change over time! 

Chloe DuBois