The esthetics of plastic-free tooth brushing

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Let’s Do Little Things is an inspiring blog where Chiara from Germany documents the steps she takes towards a more sustainable life. This week she shares with us her plastic-free tooth care solutions.

Finally, I have taken another step towards a plasticfree bathroom and purchased a bamboo toothbrush and made my own toothpaste.

Toothbrush
But why choose a wooden toothbrush when plastic ones are so much cheaper and easier to purchase? I know, reading a blog called “Plastic-free Tuesday”, you might already have a clou about why plastic is bad for us and our environment. Nevertheless, let me explain why we all should consider buying and using wooden toothbrushes.

Firstly: They are always biodegradable and do not produce any waste. Secondly: Using a plastic toothbrush means letting substances like BPA plasticizers into your body. Those substances are suspected of several health effects like causing breast cancer, infertility and so on. We don’t want that!

I had searched for a reasonable possibility to purchase wooden toothbrushes for a long time until I found an offer for 12 bamboo toothbrushes on Amazon. The brand is called “pourmoi” and they sell 12 fully biodegradable toothbrushes for € 39,95. And the best thing above all: The toothbrushes are packed in no plastic! Imagine how happy I was.

So how does it feel to brush your teeth with a wooden toothbrush?

It feels good! Even better than with a plastic one I think. The bamboo toothbrush is smooth and dries very fast – I loved it from the start! And once you need a new one, you can compost the old one, or use it to give your plants some stability and just put it in a flower pot, for example.

Tootbrushes
But as I also wanted an alternative to toothpaste out of plastic tubes (even metal tubes do always have a plastic coating on the inside), I searched for simple recipes to make my own toothpaste. So I stumbled over xylitol. Xylitol is a tooth-friendly, diabetic sweetener (such as stevia for example) and it is known for its antibacterial and anti-caries effect. You find Xylitol in every health food store. I took a little screw-top jar filled in some xylitol and added some essential oil for the peppermint taste.

Tootbrush and toothpaste
In order to brush my teeth, I put a small amount of this “toothpaste” in my hand and dip my tootbrush into it – here we go! Those of you who are already used to bio-toothpaste will not feel any diference. The toothpaste frothes a bit but not as conventional toothpastes do. After all I’m very happy to be brushing my teeth without plastic and I find it quite esthetic.

Did you already try plastic-free toothbrushing? How did you find it?

The photo on top of this page is made by Alex Hofford for Greenpeace USA. Read more about plastic soup on the international Greenpeace website by clicking here.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi Chiara,

    thanks so much for this post! Took me a while, but for Plastic-Free July I’m experimenting with toothpaste as well now, going the baking soda, coconut oil, essential oil route right now. I’ve been posting about it on the Plastic-Free Tuesday Instagram, which spurred up quite a bit of (good!) debate 🙂

    I have two questions for you: where do you get xylitol, and how is it packaged? no harmful side effects? second: I have some worries about the essential oil, as i think it not necessarily meant for eating (at least that what all packages tell me) because of the concentration. The shop attendant at the Eco-store (Ekoplaza in the Netherlands) assured me that in small, diluted quantities its fine, he has other shoppers using it for toothpaste as well, and he has tried a drop in his mount at a fair as well. What is your opinion on this?

    Also, I find the coconut taste of my paste a bit weird still 🙂 its more prevalent than the essential oil taste 🙂 but that’s no biggie!

    Thanks a lot, will tag you on Instagram as well 😉
    Marlies

  2. Every time I go to the dentist, I leave depressed. I always get bad news, usually about my gums. But last week at my checkup, my readings for my gum health were the best I’ve had in literally years. I told the hygienist that the only difference I have made is switching to a bamboo toothbrush with bamboo bristles. My healthy gums can’t be a coincidence. The bamboo felt strange at first in my mouth, but I’m used to it now and will never go back. It’s biodegradable and my teeth love it.

    As for toothpaste, I’m not doing as well. Many of my teeth hurt, even when I drink water. So I started using Sensodyne recently 🙁 My daughter makes her own tooth powder with some sort of clay base, I’ll have to ask her exactly how she does it. She likes it. We also have some nice tooth powder from http://www.aquarianbath.com. I use dental floss that comes in a paper box, so that’s an improvement over those plastic containers most dental floss comes in.

    • Annemieke

      Thank you for sharing this positive story with us, Anne Marie! It’s amazing that the bamboo brush might make the difference between healthy and unhealthy gums. What did the hygienist say when you told about your bamboo brush?

      I myself switched to an electric toothbrush about a year ago. Although I am happy with the results, I am considering to switch to a bamboo toothbrush too. Not only does that mean less plastic, but it is also easier when traveling, since an electric toothbrush is relatively heavy and needs a charger.

    • Hi there! I saw that you have a bamboo brush, with bamboo bristles? May I ask what brand you own? I have a bamboo brush, but the bristles are still BPA free plastic. I’ve see the “Environmental toothbrush” that has plastic free bristles but upon reading the reviews, it seems a lot of the bristles fall out. I’m seeking other options.
      Thanks!
      Toni

      • Annemieke

        Hi Toni! Apologies for the delayed reply. The toothbrush in this blog is of the brand Pourmoi. You can purchase them through Amazon.de (search for “SIDCO Bambus Zahnbürste Naturborsten”). In the product information it says that the bristles are made of bamboo viscose. Hope that helps.

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