My journey to vegan eco-friendly dental care

On my journey to being fully plant-based and reducing my plastic waste, I have explored different teeth cleaning options. I have always cleaned my teeth twice a day with an electric toothbrush and used mouthwash in the morning. In addition, I have tried desperately to remember to use TePes on a regular basis to avoid my hygienist’s wrath! 

Toothpaste

I have experimented with different vegan toothpastes in the past but never really got on with any. Recent experiments include Georganics toothpaste (vegan, all natural and plastic free) and Jason toothpaste (vegan).

The Georganics toothpaste is very different to normal toothpastes. It’s a totally different texture and is applied to your toothbrush using a bamboo spatula. When I initially started using it, I found the taste quite foul and it certainly didn’t give that ‘fresh just cleaned my teeth’ feeling. I persisted as I thought it would take some getting to used to and after a while it didn’t bother me much. My teeth always felt a little furry after I cleaned them but I didn’t think too much of it. I rather hoped it meant I wasn’t stripping them of good things! Anyway, after using it for a month or so, I noticed my teeth had discoloured. I have always been quite fortunate to have naturally white teeth, which despite drinking black coffee and red wine, don’t tend to stain. So I used up the toothpaste and gave up that experiment!

I fared better with the Jason toothpaste, I found my teeth felt clean and my mouth felt fresh after using it. Several months on and my teeth have stayed clean. So it’s a winner on the vegan front but is not eco-friendly at all. I plan to continue with it for the time being but will keep looking for a plastic free alternative that doesn’t compromise my dental health.

Mouthwash

I have been using Jason mouthwash for a long time now, as the first step to a more eco life was cutting out chemicals. We’ve been using predominately natural cleaning products and toiletries for nearly 10 years now. Since there’s a big overlap between natural and vegan products, transitioning that part of our lives to a vegan lifestyle was fairly easy!

Jason mouthwash is great (and vegan!). I have tried a variety of flavours and find my mouth always feels really fresh after. I have now settled on the slightly strange Cinnamon Clove flavour. However, there is a very big downside to this mouthwash – it comes in a plastic bottle.

With this in mind I tried some Georganics mouthwash tablets as like the toothpaste, they are plastic free and also cleverly reduce weight by being tablets that you dissolve in water. I wasn’t sure about the mouthwash at all though, it’s very mild and didn’t feel at all refreshing or cleansing. I also kept forgetting to put them in water to dissolve while I cleaned my teeth so had to keep waiting. In all honesty, this was a mild inconvenience that I would have overcome if I’d liked the product. For me, the fact I have a nearly full (glass!) bottle of them left after 6 months means they were not a success.

Reluctantly I am staying with the Jason mouthwash for the time being but will keep looking for a plastic free alternative.

Toothbrush

Anyone who has read anything about plastic waste will know of the rising popularity of bamboo toothbrushes. I have read a lot and naturally wanted to try one too. I really wanted to love it as it ticked a lot of boxes for me. It’s an environmentally friendly material – quick grow & biodegradable, I can buy them from local independent businesses and I don’t have to waste electricity charging it.

Sadly, it’s a complete no no for me. Initially I tried it with the Georganics toothpaste and then with my usual toothpaste, but my teeth didn’t feel as clean even though I was cleaning for over 2 minutes. This suspicion was confirmed when I went to the dentist and got referred to the hygienist for the first time in a couple of years with the start of gum disease. Reluctantly I have gone back to an electric brush and coincidentally the hygienist is much happier with my teeth and gums. 

I have just found an interesting concept brush on kickstarter which appears to be a battery free ‘electric’ brush made from biodegradable materials. So will give this brush a try if it comes to market. Meanwhile, I will continue with plastic electric brush for the sake of my gums.

TePes / floss

Something I struggle with is regular flossing / using TePes. I know I should do it more; I sometimes get into good habits, but lose them just as quick. Recently I have been hiding behind plastic waste as a good excuse for doing it even less! Again, my hygienist was not happy so I decided to look at what alternatives were available. I found vegan floss in a plastic free container that you can buy refills for, bingo! So 3 days in and yep, I’ve flossed every day. 🙂

Today I found out that TePe are launching a whole new range of sugar cane products very soon, which I’m really excited about; I have some gaps that definitely need brushes not floss! So I will try them when they are available in the UK.

My dental products of choice