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Making Dental Eco Friendly

Today is Earth Day! Earth Day was started 51 years ago today to “increase public awareness of the worlds environmental problems.” Here at A Smile 4U we do our best to be environmentally conscious where we can. Whether that’s encouraging paperless options, or our biodegradable cutlery in the breakroom. It’s important we all do our part, no matter how small.

The dental world isn’t always the most environmentally friendly.

Our most used dental products can cause a lot of waste that lasts.

The standard toothbrush we know today was invented in 1938. The standard toothbrush has a plastic handle with nylon bristles. Nylon is an artificial or synthetic fiber, which is made by using chemicals verses natural or living organisms. Essentially, nylon is a type of plastic. A standard toothbrush can take up to 1,000 years to fully decompose. That means there isn’t a single plastic toothbrush that has fully decomposed since their invention. One billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away yearly in the United States, that’s 50 million pounds of annual waste.

According to Oral B, floss was first commercially available in 1882. The first dental floss was unwaxed silk, which is environmentally friendly. Nylon floss was developed around World War II after they found it more user friendly than silk because of it’s dexterity. Nylon floss can take up to 80 years to decompose. The popular floss picks can take up to 500 years to decompose, and pose a dangerous threat to animals with their sharp pick at the end.

What are my alternative options?

Good news is as society grows more environmentally conscious, so do our products!

If you’re a fan of a regular manual toothbrush, bamboo is an excellent alternative. While many still use nylon bristles, the base is bamboo which is 100% biodegradable, and comes from a renewable sustainable resource.

Another toothbrush alternative is electric brushes. An electric brush is still made from plastic, but you should only throw out the head. Verses tossing the entire brush every three months. Many companies have recyclable heads available. By having recyclable heads, a base you can use for years, and batteries that can last up to weeks on a single charge, they make a great alternative to the standard manual toothbrush. We know what we’re asking Santa for this year.

As for floss, the original silk floss is still available. Silk is another natural, and fully biodegradable material. That means it makes the perfect alternative to nylon. You can also find silk floss with a wax coating to keep that minty fresh feeling.

Another nylon floss alternative is a water flosser. Even though you’re using more water, water is a renewable resource and you use a limited amount. A water flosser is a zero-waste flossing option.

Schedule your next appointment, and lets talk about change!

There are many ways you can make small changes to your everyday lifestyle that make a big impact. Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth, turn off the lights when you leave the room (assuming you’re the last one in there), unplug your phone charger when you’re not using it, use reusable water bottles instead of single use, and of course recycle when you can. There is so much more we can do to help our environment, but these are a few easy ways to make minor changes to make a big difference.

A Smile 4U has planted flowers in honor of Earth Day outside of our management office. We will continue our journey of alternative options to help our planet. We hope you will too. Schedule your next appointment with us to talk to your dentist about the eco-friendly options for you. Happy Earth Day!

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