Zero Waste Oral Hygiene
We all want healthy looking teeth and gums and clean fresh breath. It is great if we can keep our teeth our whole life, yet it is said that 36 million Americans have no teeth. This is a shocking statistic.
Oral hygiene is a necessity in life. Having bad oral hygiene can not only affect your teeth but also your body's health in general.
There is also so much waste attached to mouth care and in the western world the toothpastes and mouthwashes can be filled with many harsh chemicals.
So how do you look after your mouth simply, naturally and with no waste? Below is a list of what I use.
It starts with the toothbrush, as it is said that 850 million toothbrushes are disposed to landfill every year in the US alone.
A bamboo toothbrush is a more sustainable option. These are becoming more readily available online but I have yet to find one in a supermarket. The bristles are made out of recyclable plastic. Some companies say that the nylon used is biodegradable but do your research as only some nylon is biodegradable. You can also buy a compostable bristle head but this is more expensive and will need to be changed monthly therefore increasing the cost. I use a bamboo brush with a recyclable bristle head. For me this is the best option at the moment.
There can be many harsh chemicals in toothpastes. Further to this, most of the plastic toothpaste bottles are rarely recyclable. It is so easy, economical, effective and zero waste to make your own. I reuse jam jars or coconut oil jars. There are loads of recipes online. I find baking soda too harsh on gums so I use arrowroot powder instead with some coconut oil and some essential oils that are known to be beneficial for teeth and gums. Some of these include cinnamon oil, clove oil and tea tree oil. I also like to add peppermint oil to my toothpaste as it gives it a minty fresh flavour. You can watch the video below for the toothpaste recipe I use daily.
We all know we need to floss. It is very effective at removing food stuck between teeth, which if left untouched can cause long term gum and teeth problems. I have found dental floss the hardest to find zero waste. Most are in plastic packaging and the floss can be coated with harsh chemicals. One may say they are so small, what does it matter, but it is said that there is enough dental floss containers yearly to fill an entire football stadium that is six stories high. So every little helps.
The main eco friendly floss on the market is silk string. I know some people prefer to stay away from silk due to its manufacturing process of silk worms. The other alternative is recyclable string. Some brands have the floss in a stainless steel container which is much better than a plastic one. At the moment I have one by eco dent. It comes in a cardboard box, although the floss itself is in a tiny plastic bag.
Our tongues are built to act as a vessel to remove unwanted bacteria from the body. Unfortunately the bacteria can stay on the tongue and affect our breath and body health.
Tongue scrapers are gradually becoming more popular in the west, but have been used for thousands of years in the east as a highly effective way of reducing the bacteria in our mouth.
It is recommended that you tongue scrap first thing in the morning, as the body has spent the night detoxifying and the bacteria can accumulate on the tongue.
Tongue scrapers are cheap and available online or in a good Indian supermarket. It is recommended to use a stainless steel one, but you can also find copper ones and silver and gold plated.
You scrap your tongue by first sticking your tongue out and moving the scraper gently from the back of your tongue to the front. Rinse the scrapper with warm water and repeat numerous times.
Always finishing off by rinsing your scrapper with warm water.
Mouthwash is said to keep your gums and teeth healthy along with regular brushing and flossing.
There are however many harsh chemicals in shop bought mouthwashes. Again it is easy, zero waste and rewarding to make your own at home. There are many oils and herbs that aid teeth and gums. I like to use herbs like sage or thyme in a mouthwash. Thyme contains thymol and is anti septic and anti fungal. It is one of the main ingredients in the widely popular Listerine mouthwash. You can also recycle old bottles. The video below has a homemade mouthwash I make using sage.
One tip I was told years ago by my dentist was to rinse my mouth out with water after eating. I find this easy to do and works a treat. Another after dinner trick is to eat some fennel seeds. This does wonders for your digestion and also makes your breath smell nice.
Best of luck on your natural, waste free oral hygiene routine. May you have a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Thanks for reading.
Watch the video here..