Such simple shifts = Love your teeth + Hug the planet
Let's start with the brush...
On a recent trip to my dentist, I was already prepared to refuse the little plastic bag with crest advertising and all kinds of single use plastic items to take home after a cleaning. To my surprise, they have stopped doing all that and handed me one bamboo toothbrush wrapped in compostable sleeve. Yay!
The thing about bamboo toothbrushes is, while they are compostable, the bristle heads are not. The only way they are is if they are made from pig hairs which brings up a whole new set of issues. Still, bamboo is a step up considering the average American will throw away 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime which, according to our current population, adds up to over 90 billion toothbrushes. While we're on the subject, did you know that every plastic toothbrush that has been created since their invention in the 1930s still exists? My grandparents and parents, all deceased now for a long time, have old toothbrushes hanging out in the dirt somewhere. wtf?
Recently, I found a good bristle head option from https://www.brushwithbamboo.com/. They use USA-made Plant-based Bristles (from castor beans!), an Organic Bamboo Handle, and Compostable Packaging. The care for your bamboo tooth brush is the same as any other: store it so it dries, wash the brush head occasionally, replace every 3-4 months. When you're done, you'll need to remove the bristle head with pliers. The tiny hairs are recyclable, but the company recommends not putting a bunch of tiny bristles into the recycling system. For now, they will need to go to the landfill with the rest of the garbage. The handle can go into your own compost or commercial compost or use it for fire kindling.
Moving on to Floss - Did you know that most floss is plastic and coated with PFC - that health hazard that coats teflon pans? I found Dental lace as an alternative. It's silk and comes in a glass container. Just order replacements when you're ready for more. https://www.dentallace.com/
Know what's in your Toothpaste - for the love of your teeth and the planet, make your own. Just re-purpose a glass container with a wide mouth. I'm not a measurer but generally speaking, this is my recipe:
1/2 cup coconut oil, 2 T (heaping) calcium carbonate, 2 T (heaping) baking soda, 2 T bentonite clay, 10-12 drops of essential oil. Mix it all up in a bowl with a spoon then transfer it to your glass storage container. Just dip your toothbrush in and scoop out a bit. I use a little larger than pea size.
Baking Soda: is a mild abrasive and helps remove plaque. It's also antibacterial and neutralizes the ph in your mouth (plaque thrives in acidity).
Bentonite Clay: is a detox that removes impurities by binding to bad bacteria in your mouth.
Calcium Carbonate: is a mild abrasive which helps to safely remove plaque when brushing and gently polishes away surface stains, but there are so many testimonials about the remineralization of teeth because of its use. Cavities completely filled in between dental visits or even fillings popping out to reveal remineralized teeth underneath.
Coconut Oil: is antibacterial and helps the mixture to stick to your teeth.
Essential Oils (pick one or use a combo):
Cinnamon: is antibacterial and antimicrobial, and when you put it in toothpaste, it helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Clove Oil: Clove oil is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiviral. It can be effective against cavities.
Peppermint Oil: Peppermint essential oil has antiseptic properties. It can help teeth and gums ward off unwanted germs, while eliminating bacteria that cause bad breath.
I hope you found this helpful and, in the bigger picture perspective, may we all cease in this moment and forevermore to ever again say "It's only one toothbrush, one coffee cup, one plastic bag, one shampoo bottle, etc, etc."