This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Green Tip Tuesday: Let's Talk about Toothbrushes

Oops, it looks like Green Tip Tuesday is once again being held on a Wednesday.  Sorry!  My last days of summer are kind of running together a bit.  Anyway, let's talk about toothbrushes!  If you're listening to your dentist you are throwing away your old toothbrush every six months or anytime you get sick.  That could add up to a lot of waste.   Luckily, there are some greener solutions.

Powered toothbrushes only replace the toothbrush head

The first solution is to use a rechargeable powered toothbrush.  These kinds of toothbrushes have a base that can be used for years with only the toothbrush head needing to be replaced.  I use an Oral B rechargeable and absolutely love it.  My teeth feel cleaner, I know I am brushing long enough because it has a self timer that tells me when 2 minutes is up, and because I am actually brushing for 2 minutes (instead of what feels like 2 minutes!) I am more apt to do a complete job.  You do have to be careful not to press too hard on your gums or you can cause sensitivity and pain.  The toothbrush head that gets replaced still generates waste, it simply generates less waste because of its size and the fact that a complete toothbrush doesn't have to be manufactured.  Of course my toothbrush base does get plugged into the wall so there is still a carbon footprint.  Also, it can be very hard to find eco-friendly replacement heads that fit the toothbrush.


These wooden toothbrushes are natural but not made from sustainable wood sources


Recycled yogurt containers make up these toothbrushes

Another solution is to buy a toothbrush made from recycled material.  There is an eco-friendly toothbrush manufactured by Recycline, Inc. in Waltham, Massachusetts.  The toothbrush base is made from recycled yogurt containers that are supplied by Stoneyfield Farm Yogurt.  It's a great option for manual toothbrush users because you are already re-using what has been re-cycled and re-purposed.  Pristineplanet.com carries a line of eco-friendly toothbrushes that are BPA free and phthalate free.  There is only one problem that I have with these toothbrushes: price. 

As you well know from my organic butter ($4.99/lb) I definitely pay a premium for what I consider to be superior products.  HOWEVER, at roughly $7.99 per toothbrush, if you have a bad winter of colds and flu you could bankrupt yourself just buying toothbrushes.  Not to mention that these toothbrushes are not widely available in stores and so you may encounter shipping costs when buying online.  Yikes!

Having said all that, you may want to make the toothbrush investment and here is why: most toothbrushes contain BPA, acrylic, nylon, and phthlalate.  Add to this a nice toxic chemical like fluoride that will help these substances to break down and you have your average teeth brushing experience.  If you're having problems with bleeding gums, mouth sores or ulcers, any kind of mouth, throat, or lip cancers, or have a suppressed immune system it may be worthwhile to consider a natural toothbrush.  Now I suppose the argument can be made that if you're having all those above listed problems you probably want to make a lot of lifestyle changes and your toothbrush may be the least of your concerns, but why add toxins, right?

For the Average Joe who doesn't have bleeding mouth ulcers there is something else to consider: if you have a toddler that likes to chew on toothbrushes invest in an eco-friendly toothbrush.  Wash it regularly to preserve it as long as possible and don't replace it until it is gnawed completely but don't let your babies ingest all those toxins.  Why bother to invest in the BPA free water bottle and then give your baby a toothbrush to chew on?

Whatever type of toothbrush you use the really important thing is to use it regularly.  Having a clean mouth reduces air pollution and that my friends, is Green.

1 comment:

Marvin Will said...

I never knew we can also be green when it comes to toothbrushes. I agree that using electric toothbrushes can be less wasteful compared to normal toothbrushes. This may be a bit out off topic, but apparently there is now a toothbrush which doesn't even require the use of toothpaste! You can look up the "Solar-Powered Toothbrush," invented by Dr. Kunio Komiyama.