Brushing with Bamboo (and other plastic-free oral hygiene tips)


To help you on your journey to zero waste I will share some things that have worked for me in cutting down on my consumption of plastic.  I'm new to this journey, too, so I'd love to hear tips you have or things that have worked for you!

Let's start with Oral Hygiene!



After ditching the BIG 4 it was time for me to look at other areas I could be more diligent and cut down on my consumption of plastic.  The bathroom felt like a good area to start because EVERYTHING in there seems to be plastic and I was already fairly well versed on alternatives.


(I don't use any of these particular products because I find them superior to others.  I buy local where I can and the products I use just happen to be what was available at the time and in the place I was shopping and fit locally made and packaging criteria that I have.  This is only information, not a review or a recommendation.)

Toothbrush


I replaced my plastic toothbrushes with bamboo ones quite some time ago and I haven't looked back.  I haven't done extensive research into different available options or brands, but when I shop I look for a bamboo brush with degradable bristles and cardboard packaging.  I have 2 different brands - ecotoothbrush and naturbrush.  I prefer the ecotoothbrush because the head is smaller and more comfortable to brush with, it's more affordable and it's Australian made.  The naturbrush is a spanish brand (that I bought while in Mallorca) and is also 100%biodegradable.  When you're done, use it in your garden!

Tooth powder


I gave up toothpaste in plastic tubes at the same time I gave up plastic toothbrushes.  

My reason for making the switch was to cut down on plastic.  Before I made the switch, though, I did a bit of reading to make sure I was still going to be taking good care of my teeth.  And it looks like there is no health downside to using powder instead of paste.

The use of powders to clean teeth dates back centuries with Ancient Egyptians, Greeks Chinese and Romans all using various ingredients to make powders to clean teeth and freshen breath.  Over the years, as knowledge increased, recipes changed to be less abrasive and damaging to enamel.  Most modern tooth powders are simple recipes using baking soda and essential oils.  

Studies have shown that toothpowder can be more effective at removing plaque than toothpaste and it has the added benefit of being made from natural and organic ingredients.  The only con seems to be convenience.  

When I first started using toothpowder I didn't love it.  It felt pretty icky in my mouth, to be honest.  But I persevered because I was adamant about cutting this plastic out of my life.  And the discomfort only lasted a couple of weeks.  Now I far prefer using powder to paste. 

The brand I use comes in a plastic tub that we reuse!

Activated Charcoal


Activated charcoal is all over the internet boasting tooth whitening super powers.  I first came across it when I was shopping for toothpowder so I thought I would look into it.

Activated charcoal is highly absorbent and is often used as treatment for poisoning.  The mineral is not absorbed by the body, rather, it passes through the system picking up chemicals and toxins along the way which will then be expelled by the digestive system.  
(Because of it's highly absorbent nature be sure to get advice from your doctor before taking it with any medications!)

It's claim to whiten teeth is based on the same principals - that plaque, surface stains and food particles will bind to the charcoals pores and when you remove the charcoal it will take with it all the nasties leaving your teeth gleaming.  

Does it work?  I don't know.  A gazillion wellness bloggers will tell you yes.  I haven't noticed a change in the colour of my teeth but I know it leaves my mouth feeling super fresh and clean so I keep it as part of my routine exchanging toothpowder for charcoal once a week.

Tongue Scraper


Tongue scraping is super easy and extremely beneficial to both your dental and overall health.

A coating on the tongue suggests the presence of toxins.  A tongue scraper removes these toxins.  Scraping your tongue has many benefits.  It helps to enhance the flavour of your food, removes the bacteria and toxins responsible for causing plaque, prevents bad breath caused by the build up of food, bacteria, fungi, and dead cells at the back of the tongue, boosts your immune system by preventing harmful toxins being reabsorbed by the body, improves digestive health and even improves heart health.  (Did you know that poor dental hygiene is linked to cardiovascular disease as are other medical conditions like diabetes!!!)

My tongue scraper is stainless steel and cost less than $10.  There are many different scrapers out there but I find this model effective and easy to clean.


Coconut Oil


Oil pulling is all over wellness blogs these days, an abundance of articles boasting a myriad of benefits of the ancient practice from whitening teeth to helping with skin conditions, hormone imbalances, headaches, infections - the list goes on.

While dentists might consider these claims lofty it is agreed upon that oil pulling can certainly be a beneficial addition to your dental hygiene regime and, provided you are using a good quality oil, perfectly safe.

Oil pulling is thousands of years old and comes from the tradition of Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional Hindu system of medicine based on balancing bodily systems.

Oil pulling is the act of swishing oil in the mouth.  A few teaspoons of a high quality, organic oil is swished in the mouth for 20 minutes and then spat out.  Traditionally sesame oil was used, but often coconut oil is used.  I use coconut oil because that was what I could access easily when I started the practice.

I can not speak of the benefits people attribute to oil pulling but I like the practice as a substitute for mouth wash (which gets rid of the good bacteria in your mouth as well as the bad stuff!)

I am not a dentist nor a wellness expert so I will refrain from going deeper into the how-to's.  If you want to incorporate this into your morning routine I would recommend discussing with your dentist.

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What's missing??

Dental Floss!!!

I am yet to find an alternative to dental floss that I'm happy with.  I have seen silk floss but it comes in a plastic dispenser, packaged in plastic.  So I haven't purchased to try it.  I am almost out of my current supply though so if anyone has a good alternative I'm all ears!!!

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What are some things you do in your bathroom to cut down on plastic?  
I'd love for you to share your tips!


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Cath
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