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EcoLuxe Products, Sustainable, dental, bamboo dental floss, Sustainability, Chanelle Dupre

Did you ever go to a dentist appointment where at the end of your session they handed you a free dental kit that includes a floss and a toothbrush? Most of us don’t think twice about the fact that that plastic toothbrush and floss are environmental hazards that will take hundreds of years to decompose naturally. Plastic dental products (as opposed to the biodegradable ecofriendly ones) are so widely used and accessible that we don’t typically think twice about what they’re made of and the long term impact they could have once disposed.

Though the dental industry produces more environmentally dangerous substances like lead, silver and other chemicals, that are more harmful to the environment than plastic toothbrushes, they are nonetheless a contributor to the plastic pollution problem. It’s a great gesture to receive a dental kit from your dentist after a session and many of us patients appreciate the gift. The package serves as a reminder to build good daily habits of brushing our teeth.

Plastic dental products are so widely used and accessible that we don’t typically think twice about what they’re made of and the long term impact they could have once disposed.

Our Dental Professionals Responsibility

Our dental professionals care about our oral health and well being and they know that to prevent gum disease and such from developing into more serious illnesses like cancer and diabetes, patients need to be more diligent and disciplined. So they give us free gifts to encourage us to practice good oral habits but with tradition, there is a downside that many of us don’t even think about.

With this tradition however, the industry does need to be aware of the impact on the environment. Perhaps dental offices receive these packages as promotional offers from manufacturers – a marketing cost that proves to build loyalty and better experience for their patients. Plastic versions are cheaper to produce and more durable than other eco-alternatives. But this giveaway practice combined with the recommendation of changing your toothbrush after 12 to 16 weeks of use has led to over 1 billion plastic toothbrushes being discarded yearly and the creation of about 50 million pounds of plastic waste which is thrown into US landfills every year. 

Plastic Toothbrush Dental Bamboo Ecofriendly

The plastic toothbrush and dental floss are non ecofriendly.

The Cost of Clean Teeth

Having white sparkling teeth is a sign of good health, cleanliness and wealth (in some countries). We see pearly whites as a desirable and attractive facial feature and many of us strive for this look and pay thousands to fix our teeth. Manufacturers take advantage of this demand by innovating and redesigning the basic architecture of the toothbrush in an effort to sell more products. But in this process, they use more non-biodegradable plastics that don’t decompose naturally in the environment. Some manufacturers are building bigger handles for better brushing experience and using even more toxic materials that will take even longer to biodegrade.

Plastic toothbrushes have handles that are made out of propylene or polyethylene plastic and bristles made of nylon for longer usage. The primary materials used in the production of a plastic toothbrush are non-reusable, non-biodegradable products and according to the National Geographic, they are not recyclable because the composite plastic used in their production does not break apart efficiently. In the end, they are often discarded inefficiently in the streets, dumpsites, landfills and other places where they constitute more than just a nuisance.

All of these discarded plastic toothbrushes will take up to 400 years to decompose, and when they stick around, they spread toxins in the environment, get into water bodies which could lead to the death of some sea creatures and generally act as pollutants that contribute significantly to the degradation of our environment. 

Minimizing environmental Impact

How do we minimize the constant influx of plastic toothbrushes circulating and tainting the environment with its toxins? Thankfully, there are some eco-friendly alternatives to plastic toothbrushes which can help us slow down the rate of plastic pollution. The most eco-friendly alternative is the wooden or bamboo made toothbrush with pig bristles which is 100% biodegradable. This alternative is designed with a handle made out of bamboo and bristles made out of the hair of domestic pigs bred for meat.

These bamboo toothbrush handles can be buried or planted in the ground to decompose. Those made with nylon bristles may not be 100% recyclable, but when cut off, the tops can be recycled when appropriately disposed with  recyclable plastic. An alternative product combines the bamboo handle with bristles that are corn-based material which, when incinerated, do not emit toxic fumes like PET or other petroleum based plastics.

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The True Cost

Although the non-biodegradable toothbrushes will cost more than the plastic ones that are readily and widely available in retail stores or those given away by your dentist, it’s worth saving our planet. The cost of switching may be too high for those budget conscious and economically driven consumers but at some point, we need to start being more aware that our actions of choosing the convenient and cheaper alternative plastics, is damaging to future generations and negatively impacting the sustainability of our planet. 

Eco-friendly Bamboo Dental Kit Alternative

For an extra $1 – 3 dollars per toothbrush, a switch to eco-friendly dental products may be too steep of a price to pay but you will be investing that price difference into environmental preservation. Though just one person’s efforts may not be enough to make a significant change given the amount of plastic garbage pollution we have accumulated over decades, one person’s commitment and trendsetting behaviour will eventually catch on and many more will make the right choices.

An entire industry, like the dental industry, can make a ground breaking statement and prove innovative thinking by supporting the cause and switching out all their plastic dental kits (plastic bag, plastic toothbrush and packaging, plastic dental floss) for eco-friendly biodegradable ones that won’t choke our wildlife and environment.

In the end, an individual can only do so much, we need manufacturers, marketers and industries of plastic users to support the switch to eco-friendly products. 

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Let's Hear from You

2 thoughts on “1 Significant Ecofriendly Impact Dental Industries Can Make Now

  • Tamia ReedJuly 20, 2021 at 4:36 am

    It was a perfect piece for reading. I believe that investing a few more dollars to make our environment sustainable will surely be a milestone. Spending a few more dollars for the protection of our environment is a collective responsibility. I will spend those extra 1 – 3 $ for buying my dental accessories next time. Good Going!

  • Heather FordAugust 15, 2021 at 4:45 am

    Howdy, this is Serious. Wow! If everyone realizes their responsibilities towards the sustainability of Earth and the environment, we can ensure our livings protected. Starting from a personal level, we should all use biodegradable plastics.

    I’ll check out your other articles for sure!

Comments are closed.