If you are someone who tries to be more eco-friendly in your daily life and for your regular purchases, you may want to consider switching up your dental floss.
In the ocean, there are tons and tons of trash that threaten wildlife every single day, especially sharp or tight objects such as dental floss, wire, plastic rings, or nets.
Is dental floss eco-friendly?
Dental floss is made of waxed nylon and plastic, which is then packaged and sold in a plastic box. This plastic will take thousands of years to decompose, and in the meantime, can be hazardous to the environment, animals, and their health. Therefore, dental floss is not eco-friendly.
Because of this, we as a human species need to be more conscious about the things we buy and throw away – if you are trying to keep plastics out of the ocean, consider switching your dental floss today!
In this article, we will discuss different options that are safe and on the market right now that you can use to replace your current dental floss needs!
How Long Time Does it Take for Regular Floss Products to Decompose?
Regular dental floss products are made of waxed nylon and packed in plastic boxes or containers.
Nylon threads are tear-proof (which is very dangerous to animals) and can take several decades to decompose. Plastic, on the other hand, can take over a thousand years, depending on its chemical makeup and the conditions that it is in.
There are even small dental floss “picks” that people buy for less than $3 that are completely plastic and sharp – if an animal were to eat one of these picks, they may become sick or even die.
These picks will also take over five hundred years to decompose.
Because of this, the environment is very negatively affected by dental floss and its plastic containers.
Is Regular Floss Made of Plastic?
Regular floss is almost always made of waxed nylon.
Nylon is a fiber-forming substance that is made from synthetic polyamide – basically a type of plastic. The wax coating on the dental floss helps it slide between your teeth more easily.
You cannot recycle nylon, and it is NOT biodegradable, making it a non-friendly substance to the environment and animals.
Furthermore, dental floss is incredibly difficult to tear or break without the proper tools – have you ever tried to pull dental floods apart with your fingers?
Often, animals will get tangled or wrapped in dental floss in the wild, especially in the ocean. This can actually kill many of them and does tear their skin or flesh if not cut away immediately.
It is, therefore, important to look into alternatives for nylon or plastic.
What is Eco-friendly Dental Floss Made Of?
Eco-friendly dental floss is available for sale, but what is it made of?
A healthier option for dental floss can be made of:
- Silk flavored with mint oils and coated in wax
- Cotton flavored or coated in wax
- Bamboo charcoal fiber (vegan)
- Water floss or water picks
Cruelty-free silk is the more popular option when it comes to eco-friendly dental floss. You will find most brands utilize that instead of other materials – however, as it comes from silkworms, it is not considered vegan.
There are also cotton products; however, they have been reported to easy breakage and don’t last very long.
Bamboo charcoal fiber dental floss is created by The Bam&Boo Toothbrush company, which hosts a variety of alternative products to plastic floss, toothbrushes, straws, bags, and travel cases.
Finally, if you are looking for something you can constantly reuse; instead, you could invest in a water pick or water floss. These are little machines that pump water out at fast volumes and help floss your teeth with a stream of water.
Water picks are much more expensive but should last you a long time!
What Are the More Eco-Friendly Floss Brands?
Finding biodegradable or eco-friendly dental floss can be difficult, and usually, it comes with a higher price tag than plastic.
However, if you do have the time and money to make the switch, you will be glad that you did! It is imperative that we make little changes that will influence fixing and protecting our natural environment and the creatures that dwell there!
Here are a few eco-friendly floss brands that we have found:
TreeBird sells its dental floss in a glass container with one spool of silk floss.
They advertise 100% silk that is coated in candelilla wax (a popular wax often paired with mint oils that many companies use).
They also will send you refills with an added purchase each time that you run out!
All you have to do is reuse the container.
2. Lucky Teeth (vegan)
One thing to remember is that silk is not a vegan option.
If you are vegan and are looking to change up your dental floss needs, Lucky Teeth offers a bamboo fiber floss that is biodegradable and a great alternative!
This comes in recyclable paper packaging and glass jar containers with refillable options.
RADIUS is one of those brands that is well-trusted except for one crucial problem: plastic packaging.
While many eco-living bloggers recommend RADIUS as a brand, they do warn customers that their product comes in plastic packaging.
RADIUS does, however, use silk in their dental floss, which does take away from the nylon materials that most brands use.
This would be a cheaper option than many of the glass packaging options, but it does still lend to the problem of creating waste in the environment.
4. The Bam&Boo Toothbrush (vegan)
The Bam&Boo Toothbrush is a company that was started to try and create eco-friendly hygiene products to replace the ones that we use now.
From toothbrushes to dental floss to even biodegradable bags and travel cases, Bam&Boo works hard to keep the trash out of the ocean.
Their dental floss is made from bamboo charcoal fiber and is considered totally vegan.
Their packaging is glass and recyclable paper as well!
5. Waterpik (vegan)
As we’ve mentioned before, sometimes flossing doesn’t mean thread, silk, or materials at all!
Instead, you can use pressurized water in order to floss between your teeth, ejecting debris from the hard-to-reach places.
Waterpik is one of the leading brands in this market and offers a ton of different options!
However, this is also the most expensive route that you can take when it comes to flossing. Your initial investment may pay off in the long run, but be prepared to pay upwards of $50 for your Waterpik.
Furthermore, the Waterpik machine and packaging is often plastic and non-biodegradable carboard.
Therefore, once you are done with your Waterpik, the machine itself is still contributing to pollution.
Can You Floss With Cotton Thread?
You CAN floss with cotton thread, but it is not the most popular kind of material to use.
This is because cotton dental floss has been reported to break much more easily during use, and therefore could cause problems with getting a full cleaning on the first try.
You may find that you are buying cotton thread more than you are using it – but it is still a better option than plastic nylon.
What About Other Types of Threads?
It is not advised to use any thread you find lying around the house.
For thousands of years, humans used horsehair to floss their teeth, but that wouldn’t be recommended today.
If you flossed with fabric thread, yarn, or other kinds of materials, you might end up hurting your gums or infecting yourself with chemicals that might be in those bits of thread or yarn.
Therefore, you should only floss your teeth with dentist-recommended materials such as those we have listed above.
What About the Dental Floss Plastic Containers?
Dental floss plastic containers are a huge problem, even if you buy eco-friendly.
Brands like Radius and Ecodent have this problem of packaging that defeats their purpose of eco-friendly floss. If you buy eco-friendly floss and it comes in a plastic package, the problem will just continue to persist.
Instead, look for glass, biodegradable cardboard or paper packaging that will easily decompose!
What is the Most Environmentally Friendly Option Here?
Of all the options we have listed, one of the better companies that everyone seems to be talking about is The Bam&Boo Toothbrush company.
Their company not only provides dental floss, but you can get a small bag, a few toothbrushes, a pack of dental floss, eco-friendly straws, and even cotton swabs in a gift pack for under $45 all at once!
They are literally a great one-stop-shop for all your vegan, eco-friendly, and hygiene-related needs!
Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.