Let’s talk about oral care! One of the first things people notice about others is their smile. More specifically, the teeth. When someone has a nice set of choppers, it is almost impossible to not comment on how beautiful their smile is. We likely associate these people with having good oral hygiene.
When I started the Zero Waste journey, I didn’t really think too much about my oral care. It wasn’t until I was down to the last tube of toothpaste that I even thought about it. At that point, I wondered about using the miswak as my toothbrush and toothpaste. Miswak is a teeth cleaning chewing stick from the tree of Salvadora persica. The miswak is loaded with benefits!
Benefits of the Miswak
- Has antibacterial properties
- Prevents dental plaque formations
- Prevents plaque and gingivitis
- Strengthens the gums
- Strengthens teeth enamel
- Whitens teeth
- Prevents tooth decay
- Can be used instead of toothbrush and toothpaste
- Relatively cheap in cost
- Can be composted
- read more here
Making the Switch
Even with all of the benefits of using the miswak, I was still a bit hesitant. I was so used to using a toothbrush AND toothpaste for cleaning my teeth. With only one tube of toothpaste remaining, I decided to use the miswak on myself, and let the rest of the family finish off the toothpaste. My teeth have never felt cleaner, and my gums look healthier, and my breath never stinks. Well to be fair, my breath never stank, except for maybe morning breath. Since using the miswak, even that has been eliminated! My tongue is always a healthy pink. It feels good knowing that I am able to further my journey without compromising my comfort or health!
Enough about the miswak! I would be remiss if I didn’t include flossing in this zero waste oral care discussion. We typically used dental floss for flossing between the teeth. My teeth are spaced enough to let food in, but close enough to hold some food in. The miswak is great, but I haven’t figured out getting it to remove food caught between my teeth.
With dental floss there is the risk of damaging your gums, or just not flossing correctly. There is also all of the waste that comes with it. From the floss itself, to the material that it comes packaged in. The WaterPik was the obvious choice.
In addition to being effective in removing food particles caught between the teeth, it also gently removes plaque from under the gum line without damaging the gums! Additionally, the device that I use only has to be charged up a few times a year. The water tank also holds enough water that it can clean my entire mouth!
Water Flossing Vs “Regular” Flossing
I haven’t done too much research into which is better. The main argument against using water flossing is that it doesn’t scrape the surface off the teeth. That is where I say the Miswak comes in handy! From a zero waste perspective, regular flossing has a lot of waste it leaves in its trail.
We are still using down the remaining toothpaste and floss, but once those are done, we will be zero waste. It is also exciting to be able to say we won’t purchase another “standard” toothbrush or toothpaste again! I do hope this was helpful, and gave you information about how you can make your oral care zero waste. Let me know what your current oral care routine consists of, or if you have any questions!