If you’re into a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle, add an eco friendly floss to your oral care routine.
Well, typical dental floss is made with nylon. Nylon is a type of plastic that’s derived from crude oil.
Plastic doesn’t biodegrade – it breaks up into microplastics. So, the floss you throw out today will likely outlive your grandkid’s grandkids. Maybe more generations.
It gets worse.
Dental floss is usually coated with a wax or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Both are synthetic. In fact, you’ll probably know PTFE as Teflon.
You’re flossing your teeth with Teflon coated plastic… Yikes!
Should you just ditch flossing altogether?
Oral hygiene is incredibly important. And, good oral hygiene is linked to good health.
There’s a type of bacteria in the mouth called Porphyromonas gingivalis that can invade the gums. Mind you, the bacteria is linked to serious gum disease, Alzheimer’s and even rheumatoid arthritis.
You see, good oral hygiene is really important! And flossing can help improve it.
But, it’s not the only way.
This 2018 Scottish study explored the effectiveness of oral hygiene aids. It tested flossing, toothpicks, water jets, interdental brushes, gum massagers, and all types of toothbrushes (regular, powered, sonic, etc).
The study found using interdental brushes, toothpicks, waterjets, and flossing were very effective oral hygiene aids.
Bottom line? Ditching flossing and only brushing your teeth isn’t enough to maintain good oral hygiene.
By the way, you can use also eco friendly toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash to reduce your bathroom waste.
Alternatives to Nylon
The main nylon alternatives for floss are bamboo fibers and silk.
But, silk is also problematic.
Silkworms are raised in captivity to feed on leaves before spinning their cocoons. After that, they are boiled ALIVE to extract the silk.
It takes about 2,500 cocoons to make just a pound of silk.
For these reasons, animal rights activists strongly criticize the silk industry. And they’re why silk isn’t considered cruelty-free or vegan.
However, there are a few silk makers that use the cocoons after the silkworms become silkmoths. These are cruelty-free but still not vegan.
Here is the dilemma.
Choosing between plastic and silk is a tough call. On one hand, you have a crude oil derived product that never truly decomposes. On the other, mass killing of silk worms.
It’s a tough choice that I’ll leave you to make based on your own individual priorities and belief system.
You won’t get any judgement from me on your choice!
Of course, there’s an option C which is bamboo floss.
Let’s get into all the eco friendly floss options right now.
Eco Friendly Floss Options
Here’s a quick summary of the different eco friendly floss choices you have.
|MotherEarth||bamboo||glass, metal, paper products|
|Boonboo||bamboo||glass, metal, paper products|
|GOGRS||silk||glass, metal, paper products|
|OhmFloss||silk||stainless steel, paper products|
|Isshah floss pick||nylon||veg-based plastic, paper|
|Waterpik water flosser||plastic|
This one is vegan, biodegradable and cruelty-free.
It is made with bamboo fiber, infused with charcoal, vegan candelilla wax, and peppermint oil.
So, you have that wax coating without the Teflon for easy sliding between your teeth. And you have that minty freshness with the peppermint oil.
The floss is also biodegradable and breaks down within 2 – 3 months.
As for the packaging, it comes with a glass container and metal lid which are reusable and recyclable. There is no plastic here – the outer packaging is paper based and biodegradable.
You get two 30-metre spools of floss.
When they’re done, be sure to get the four refill box so you can reuse the container.
This one is pretty similar to Mother Earth’s. It is a vegan, cruelty-free, eco friendly floss.
It’s bamboo fiber with peppermint oil. That’s it – no wax here.
Once you’re done with it, pop in the compost pile and forget about it. It’ll naturally biodegrade.
You’ll receive one 30-metre spool of floss which is likely to last you 3 months (assuming you floss every day).
Packaging is also similar – a glass container with a metal lid and a paper box. You can reuse and recycle the glass and metal and compost the box. Pick up the refills too.
This one isn’t vegan or cruelty-free. It’s silk… but it is biodegradable.
Like Mother Earth’s, it is also coated with candelilla wax and infused with mint.
The floss comes with a glass container, metal lid, paper box, and corn starch bag. The last two are biodegradable and the glass and metal are reusable and recyclable.
Three spools come with this one, each having a length of 30 meters.
Get a box of five spools to refill the container when you’re done.
This is another silk floss so it isn’t vegan or cruelty-free; but is 100% biodegradable.
Much like the others, the floss is coated with vegan candelilla wax, and peppermint oil.
If you have slippery fingers, you’ll be happy that this floss comes with a stainless steel container and lid which you can use over and over again. And everything comes in a paper box.
You get one 30-metre spool of floss and two more in the refill box.
Not everyone has the physical dexterity to hold floss and move it around your teeth. That’s why floss picks are so popular.
The commercial ones though are made of plastic with nylon floss. Don’t buy those.
Try these Isshah floss picks instead.
They still have nylon floss which is a bummer, but they do use a lot less plastic.
The handles are made from corn starch and vegetable-based plastic and the packaging is paper based. The handles are biodegradable but in an industrial setting, not so much in your backyard compost bin.
It’s not perfect, but it’s better than an all-plastic floss pick.
A water flosser? But, that’s plastic! I know, I know!
But, I wanted to include it in this list after reading this 2013 Canadian study.
The study compared plaque removal with a water flosser plus toothbrush versus string floss and toothbrush.
The results showed the flosser was 30% more effective than string floss.
This Waterpik cordless water flosser is plastic which isn’t great.
But it’s compact and gives you a deep clean feeling for your teeth and gum line. It definitely removes harmful bacteria and plaque that traditional brushing and flossing can’t get to. And it’ll last you many years.
Hopefully, they develop a recycling program soon.
Those are some of the options for eco friendly floss. What do you use? I’d love to hear about your experiences.