The Ultimate Guide to Plastic-Free Oral Care

Toothbrushes, mouthwash, floss… The list goes on and the excess plastic quickly piles up in your bathroom cabinets. Over 264 million plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the UK, according to Resolute. Taking over 1000 years to decompose, each toothbrush has a detrimental effect on the environment, filling up landfill sites, polluting our oceans and disrupting marine life. We’ve put together the complete guide for ditching the plastic in your everyday brushing routine.

Use a bamboo or steel toothbrush

It’s time to evict plastic, disposable toothbrushes from your bathroom cabinet and make room for a bamboo or stainless steel alternative. There’s a lot of options available, so we’ve shortlisted a few of our favourites to help you find your new brushing buddy.

We love these bamboo brushes from Anything But Plastic, featuring five groovy colours and packaged in 100% recycled cardboard. They are a low cost option that’ll have your pocket (and the planet) thanking you. According to their website, by switching to a bamboo brush you’ll eliminating 90% of the plastic used to make a standard toothbrush.

Barnabys Brushes combine stainless steel and bamboo with their replaceable head toothbrush. Incorporating the strong, naturally antibacterial properties of stainless steel, the toothbrush handle is guaranteed to last you an infinite amount of brushes. The replaceable bamboo heads are moulded into the perfect shape to brush teeth and also connect securely to the stainless steel handle.

Both of these options use Nylon 6, a plastic component that is imperative to the production and function of the toothbrush bristles. However, with the main handles being replaced, this means bristle waste is only 0.2 grams per head, which is a dramatic improvement on an entire plastic toothbrush.

Switch to eco-friendly flossing

Flossing is an important step in your brushing routine, but a lot of conventional floss is not recyclable, biodegradable and definitely not plastic free. With 30% of Brits flossing everyday, it’s time to find a sustainably savvy alternative to keep our teeth squeaky clean.

Avoid disposable floss picks and opt for a floss clew which is long lasting and plastic free. Charcoal floss from My Bamboo Brush is vegan, made from sustainable bamboo charcoal and packed in a reusable glass jar with a metal lid dispenser, making it the perfect addition to your oral care routine. Using candelilla wax as opposed to the not-so-friendly beeswax, the 30m floss is lightly lubricated for a seamless flossing experience.

Try toothpaste and mouthwash tablets

Packaging for toothpaste tubes is manufactured to last forever, various components involved in the production of the typical toothpaste tube can include any number of plastics, aluminium, steel and even nylon. For a toothpaste tube to be recycled it means each of these components must be processed individually. So on top of the CO2 pollution involved in the production of each individual tube, it then becomes a very complicated process for the recyclers, resulting in a billion tubes ending up in landfill every year.

Sink your teeth into some chewable toothpaste and mouthwash tablets from Brushd for a zero waste brushing experience. Perfect for travelling and both are available in reusable glass jars or cardboard refills. Each bottle contains two months worth of twice a day brushing; at only £5.99 a bottle you’ll be saving money and keeping oral care waste out of our oceans.

If tablets aren’t for you, why not try your toothpaste repackaged into a recyclable, reusable glass jar like this Natural Toothpaste from Ben & Anna. Available in a variety of options depending on your needs (eg; whitening, sensitive teeth etc) there’s something for everyone in their inclusive range. All their products are free from palm oil, micro plastics and entirely eliminate the need for a toothpaste tube.

Replace your retainer case

A common overlook in our bathroom cabinets is our dental retainers, braces or orthodontic products. With around 200,000 people fitted with braces every year in the UK, most are given removable retainers after their treatment which includes a plastic case for storage. 

Why not try a plastic free storage solution for your dental retainers with an aluminium case. With ventilation holes for improved sanitation and as an overall more durable storage option, this easy swap will have your retainer protected and save on the plastics used to manufacture traditional cases.