October 18, 2022 3 min read
Yes, traditional dental floss is bad for the environment because it is made from non-recyclable and non-biodegradable materials that contribute to harmful plastic waste in landfills and the ocean. As well as widespread environmental degradation, this causes serious health problems or death for marine life. This is also the case for the plastic containers that traditional dental floss comes in.
Dental floss doesn’t tend to be vegan either. Unless specified otherwise, it wouldn’t be unusual for a mass market dental floss to contain animal-derived ingredients, like glycerine. Even silk floss, which is better for the environment than traditional dental floss, is derived from silkworm insects and is therefore not vegan.
The answer isn’t to stop flossing though. According to the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, “using a toothbrush cleans only three of the five surfaces of our teeth, so cleaning between our teeth is a critical part of good oral hygiene as it helps to prevent gum disease by removing plaque from any areas missed by brushing alone.” Instead, you should switch to a vegan dental floss alternative.
Floss, picks and water flossers help to clean those hard-to-reach areas in and around our teeth, preventing plaque build-up and promoting healthy gums. However, as we've covered, not all of these tools are good for the environment. The good news is that there are some great, sustainable alternatives to dental floss, that help you to maintain the health of your teeth and the planet.
Made from corn starch bioplastic, candelilla wax and natural mint flavour, corn starch refillable dental floss is a great, plastic-free alternative to traditional floss. Corn dental floss is used the same way that you use traditional floss and is as effective for your teeth and gums — break off around 30-45cm of floss, and slide the floss between the teeth in a zigzag motion (or "rocking" motion).
Bamboo is a natural and renewable material — which comes from the fastest growing plant in the world — that has no negative impact on the environment. This makes it another great sustainable alternative to remove food, particles, and plaque from between your teeth. Bamboo also has natural antimicrobial properties that make it safer than traditional floss, which sometimes contains harmful microplastics and other toxic chemicals.
Prefer a dental pick? Forget non-recyclable plastic picks, and opt for a biodegradable one instead. Although these tend to still be single-use, the materials will biodegrade faster, and therefore not contribute to plastic pollution.
The one downside of a dental pick is that you're using the same, small piece of floss, to clean between all of your teeth. This might decrease how effective your floss is, as it becomes more covered with bacteria and debris.
A water flosser is a reusable pick with a powerful jet stream that cleans between your teeth. Studies show that a water flosser can remove up to 99.9% of plaque from treated areas, and is 29% more effective than string floss for overall plaque removal and approximal surfaces.
Although not as low-waste as our other options, the reusable head and rechargeable batteries mean there is no single-use waste after each use — and it will last you much longer than traditional floss.
Want to further reduce waste in your dental routine? Ditch your plastic toothbrush for a reusable, bamboo toothbrush, and opt for zero-waste toothpaste tablets over traditional toothpaste. If you have little ones, bamboo toothbrushes are great for them too!
Wild & Stone's mission is to create stylish, easy to adopt and usable alternatives to common plastic products around the home. We source all our products sustainably, from raw material to final delivery. Shop our wide range today.
Share your plastic-free swaps with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on Instagram #wildandstone.
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