Sometimes it seems like the trend toward eco-awareness and sustainable living is a new one, but it’s actually been around for quite a while. In fact, this April marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a worldwide event that celebrates the environmental movement. But despite a half-century in the spotlight, many individuals are unaware of how their oral health habits can impact the environment. Here are three tips to help you make the switch to eco-friendly home dental care.
If you are among those who are concerned about chemicals used in food, medicine, and other everyday products, organic and natural toothpastes offer a healthy and safe alternative. Many products have been on the market long enough to have proven to be safe and effective, and some brands are even certified by the American Dental Association. Organic toothpastes simultaneously clean the teeth while also acting as a natural breath freshener, thanks to antibacterial ingredients like spearmint and peppermint oil. It’s also preferred by many patients with sensitive teeth and gums due to its inclusion of soothing herbal extracts and oils like aloe vera and tee tree oil. Products made of natural ingredients are not always made using responsible and sustainable methods, so you may want to research a toothpaste before using it. However, toothpastes labeled as natural or organic must be cruelty-free, so you can be assured there was no animal testing involved. Baking soda is another natural alternative that is adept at neutralizing the acids that cause cavities and gum disease, and it is especially good at removing stains.
Watch Your Water
Water conservation is one of the most important environmental impacts an individual can make. But with estimates of Americans using around 5 gallons of water each time they brush their teeth (when leaving the water running), it seems like sustainability and good oral health are at loggerheads. In reality, though, there are easy ways that individuals can significantly reduce water consumption while still taking great care of their teeth. For starters, turn the faucet off between wetting the brush and rinsing your teeth. And when it comes to rinsing, use a cup instead of your hands. Of course, reusable cups are best for the environment, and try to only use the water you need. If you like to let it run to get to a preferred temperature, catch the water in a second cup and save it for shaving or watering plants.
Pass on Plastics
If you follow recommended dental hygiene practices, you’re replacing a toothbrush every three months. Those old brushes end up in the trash, and if you’re flossing every day with regular nylon floss, that’s even more plastic headed for the landfill. You can lessen your carbon footprint without sacrificing daily dental care, however. Switching to plastic-free products like natural silk floss and biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes keeps your teeth clean, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Toothbrush bristles can even be made from natural materials like charcoal and castor bean oil, and many of these products have antimicrobial properties.
If you have questions about the oral health products you use, stop in at Ellicott Mills Dental today. Our staff can help you identify which toothbrushes, flosses, and other products are right for you – and the environment. The first step toward a whiter smile and greener world starts by calling us at (410) 431-1768.