" If one has made a mistake, and fails to correct it, one has made a greater mistake.”
This post is from guest blogger Karl Friesen my business partner and friend. Karl is as passionate about sustainability and green living as I am, we both consider ourselves Green Warriors. Please feel free to reach out to Karl to let him know what you think of the post or if you have any questions.
Which Plastic-Free Choice is Best for You?
Most major brands of toothpaste contain various forms of harmful micro-plastics, but there are great natural alternatives you'll love.
My wife told me she heard that recent studies indicate ‘micro-plastics’ have been found in our bodies. In our blood, in our livers, our muscles, and in our brains. She was listening to the radio while driving between appointments when she heard this and was astounded.
These studies were conducted by leading national and international medical organizations. After I did some follow-up research on her comment, I was blown away.
I have heard micro-plastics have been found in rivers, in the oceans as well as in sand on our beaches, which is all terrible. But micro-plastics in our bodies?
But where did all this micro-plastic come from and how did it get in our bodies?
Image Courtesy of Mari Lezhava
The leading brands of products like toothpaste contain micro-plastics. Every time we brush our teeth with these childhood favorites we put micro-plastics into the water stream that ends up in the rivers and ocean.
And of course we swallow some as well. In addition, when we wash our clothes, the washing process sheds micro-plastics, and micro-fibers including little broken off bits of polyester, plastics. Check out our other post on Zero Waste Laundry Detergents for other products that are fighting against the plague of plastic in our environment.
When we put these micro-plastics into the rivers and oceans, the natural water recirculates these pollutants so it ends up in the food and water we consume. So each of us needs to make buying decisions to help reduce the amount of these micro-plastics we put into the environment and into our bodies. So buy natural fiber clothing and buy non-microplastic toothpastes.
In late 2012, the first multinational (Unilever) announced the phasing out of plastic ‘microbeads’ from their products worldwide. After this many multinationals quickly made similar statements. This action which was stated as ‘voluntary’ was a result of various environmental organizations’ campaigns to pressure multinationals to take responsibility for the impacts of their products. At that time over 400 brands from nearly 120 different manufacturers were promised to have removed plastic ‘microbeads’ from their products. Follow this link to BeatTheMicrobead.org to learn more.
Microbeads, however, are only a small part of the total microplastics in these products. Microbeads are the visible plastic particles, smaller than 5mm, which are usually shaped like spheres with specific purposes such as exfoliating, peeling, or scrubbing. These plastic beads, made mostly from polyethylene, were used in particular products like toothpaste and scrubs and are more or less phased out at this point.
Microplastics are typically considered to be small, made from various synthetic polymers numbering in the several hundred with different compositions and purposes. Microbeads and microplastics are both typically 5mm or less. Microplastics are still used widely in every sort of cosmetic and personal care products.
They are highly resistant to biodegradation so will persist in the environment for very long periods after use. In cosmetics and personal care products like toothpaste, typically microplastics of all sorts are added intentionally to provide specific improved functions.
For many of these microplastics there is not enough information available to fully understand their long-term impacts on our plants, animals and fish in our rivers and oceans. Scientific studies need to be conducted to determine these impacts and whether they should be defined as microplastics or not.
All the countries that banned or increased regulations on microplastics in cosmetics and personal care products, have only banned microbeads but not all plastic ingredients. To date only a handful of countries banned just microbeads from various rinse-off products so microplastics are still pervasive in our personal and household care products.
More than half of dental care products contain microplastics
Of almost 600 dental care products studied by one reputable investigative lab, including toothpastes and mouthwashes, nearly 350contained either microplastics or ingredients believed to be microplastics pending further research on their properties. A little less than 250 dental care products contained no plastic at all.
Plenty of Plastic-Free Toothpaste Options
It is pretty easy to make quality dental cleaning products that are free of plastics. Many brands around the world are available with a wide range of plastic-free toothpaste and tooth tablets.
Brands like Dr. Bronner, Tom’s of Maine, David's and hello are just three of many that are radically changing our dental care routines for good. Not only can you choose to brush your teeth without microplastics, but you can also choose to produce zero waste while brushing your teeth.
1. Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste
Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste
This Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste is USDA Organic, biodegradable, vegan, and Leaping Bunny–certified. It’s made in the USA and helps freshen breath, fight plaque, and whiten teeth without the use of fluoride or sulfates. Plus, it comes in a 100-percent recyclable tube and box for an eco-friendly paste that’ll create less waste.
Is Dr. Bronner's toothpaste SLS-free?
Yes, it is, along with nut, paraben, triclosan, fluoride, and cruelty-free. Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste is also made with fair-trade ingredients and a natural fragrance.
Put your best smile forward
It’s easy to show off your pearly whites when using Dr. Bronner's toothpaste. To help get your teeth their whitest, brush your teeth with this paste, and don’t forget to floss, too. Remember, two brushes a day keeps the dentist away.
Yes, this Davids Natural Toothpaste – Spearmint is made with only naturally derived and sourced ingredients for a healthy choice for removing plaque, whitening your teeth, and freshening your breath, too.
Who owns Davids toothpaste?
Eric David Buss owns Davids toothpaste, and the company is all about family — so much so that it’s 100% family owned and operated. From their family to yours, they make natural products you can count on.
Other perks to Davids toothpaste you won’t want to miss:
A recyclable, metal tube for sustainability
A tube key roller to get out every little bit of paste out even when you’re close to empty
Elevate your brushing game with hello Fresh Spearmint Fluoride-Free Toothpaste. The secret mouth-cleaning ingredient is hemp oil, which has been known to keep bad breath bacteria under control. Hemp is widely used in various applications because of its purported health benefits, and it's finally made its way into toothpaste. Some studies have found that hemp has anti-inflammatory properties, and when combined with coconut oil, gives this toothpaste bacteria-fighting power without being harsh on your enamel or gums. Coconut oil nourishes your mouth and keeps it moisturized.
Discover the hello toothpaste that brings out your brightest smile. Choose from hemp oil, activated charcoal, coconut oil, and other naturally derived ingredients that are healthy, safe, and effective at keeping your smile sparkling. Don’t stop at natural toothpaste. Take care of your mind, body, and our planet by choosing healthier body care products. Shop for clean shampoos, deodorants, and body washes as well.
Where does hello source the spearmint in this toothpaste?
Enjoy the long-lasting taste of peppermint that comes from Yakima Valley in Washington. This refreshing mint will leave your mouth tasting fresh all day.
Ingredients: Keepin’ it real
This toothpaste does not contain any peroxide, artificial sweeteners or flavors, dyes, parabens, fluoride, SLS/sulfates, microbeads, gluten, or triclosan. hello’s recipe for this paste is clean, healthy ingredients.
Tom's of Maine uses naturally sourced, naturally derived ingredients to create personal care products that work. Tom's toothpaste for kids uses calcium and silica for a clean, healthy mouth, while the fruity, fun taste helps build brushing habits naturally.
Let’s close the loop on packaging to ensure it doesn’t end up in landfills or oceans
TerraCycle® and Tom’s of Maine have partnered to create a national recycling program for typically hard-to-recycle waste streams. Reduce your impact on our planet - participation is simple and free. Mouthwash bottles and caps, toothbrushes, deodorant containers and caps, toothpaste tubes and caps, floss containers, and soap packaging can be recycled through TerraCycle®.
How to Start:
1. Check each piece of packaging for the recycling symbol and confirm your local recycling service accepts this type of packaging - visit BeRecycled.org to easily find this information. If your package cannot be recycled curbside, utilize this take back program! 2. Collect your empties - no need to even rinse them out - and put them in an eco-friendly envelope, box or other container. Reuse packaging you already have for mailing. 3. Request and print your label from Terracycle.com 4. Ship
Join us in our quest at blendedtribes.com to save the planet one kilowatt, one therm, one gallon, or tube of toothpaste (aka a 'Better Choice') at a time. You will be joining a group of like-minded individuals with a common goal and a common purpose.
Please consider taking action on any of the recommendations found on our site to create a more sustainable, healthy, and abundant life for yourself and those you care about.
When you visit our site, take the Green Warrior Challenge to establish where you stand on your sustainability journey. It will inspire you with actionable line items that you can take that will increase the quality of your life and contribute to our collectively saving the planet.
Disclosure: To maintain complete transparency please bear in mind that some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links and if you purchase through them we will earn a small commission. We link to these companies because their products are high-quality, trustworthy vendors who care about delivering an awesome customer experience. If you choose not to support Blended Tribes that's okay we still love you and encourage you to find the product elsewhere and purchase it. ~ Better Living Through Better Choices.