Brushing and caring for your teeth seems pretty mundane, but there are several ways you can green your daily habits and incorporate eco-friendly materials, natural ingredients, and conscientious actions into your routine.
• Toothbrushes: Pick eco-friendly toothbrushes. We like Preserve, which is made from recycled plastic (the company also encourages individuals to send them back for recycling); Radius, which is made from flax and recycled currency; and the Environmental Toothbrush, which is made from bamboo and renewable plant feedstock.
Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months, but instead of tossing them, reuse toothbrushes to clean everything from grout to produce, bicycle chains, and jewelry.
• Toothpaste: When it comes to toothpaste, Tom's of Maine may be owned by Colgate-Palmolive, but it's still one of the more natural products that's widely available. You can also recycle the aluminum tubes. For other natural toothpaste brands, check out Grist's review of six eco-toothpastes. Or make your own toothpaste with baking soda.
• Water: Many of us learned this in elementary school, but just in case you need a reminder: turn off the water while brushing! Make sure you teach your kids this simple green tip, too.
• Dental floss: Although dental floss may seem insignificant, each year Americans discard approximately 3 million miles of floss and 700 million plastic floss containers. A greener option is EcoDenT, which includes more floss per package, comes in a paper box printed with soy ink, and is waxed with rice bran rather than the usual petroleum-derived, synthetic wax.
• Mouthwash: Natural mouthwash is available from Tom's of Maine, Eco-DenT, and other brands. To avoid buying extra packaging, you can also make your own mouthwash and store it in a reusable bottle or glass carafe. Check out these homemade mouthwash recipes from GreenYour.com.