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- Best sustainable toothpaste tablets: Huppy Toothpaste Tablets
- Best sustainable toothpaste: OJOOK Toothpaste with nHA and Bamboo Salt
- Best sustainable electric toothbrush: Curaprox Hydrosonic Pro Toothbrush
- Best sustainable manual toothbrush: Cocofloss Cocobrush
- Best sustainable bamboo toothbrush: Brush, by Bite
- Best sustainable dental floss: Cocofloss Single
- Best sustainable silk dental floss: Dental Lace Zero Waste 100% Silk Floss
- Best sustainable water flosser: BURST Water Flosser
- Best sustainable mouthwash: Colgate Swish Mouthwash
- Best sustainable mouthwash tablets: Georganics Mouthwash Tablets
- Best sustainable whitening strips: ELIMS Magic Melt-Away Teeth Whitening Masks
Here’s a startling statistic: If people in the United States followed the American Dental Association’s recommendation to replace their toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months, more than 1 billion toothbrushes would end up in the trash every year.
Think about your oral care routine as a whole — dental floss, mouthwash, toothpaste — and the amount of waste we generate only goes up.
Fortunately, there are eco-conscious ways to keep your pearly whites shining and reduce all the plastic lining your medicine cabinets and filling your drawers. From toothpaste tablets to floss and mouthwash to toothbrushes, we’ve rounded up the most sustainable oral care products available.
In making our recommendations, we looked for companies that provide specifics about their sustainability efforts: Do they use recycled materials, minimize the use of plastic, use biodegradable ingredients, or offer refills so you’re not a revolving door of discarded packaging?
We also looked closely at customer reviews to ensure that performance is up to par.
- $ = under $11
- $$ = $11–$25
- $$$ = over $25
A note on editorial testing
Sifting through product descriptions and customer reviews can be overwhelming. We’re here to make researching products easier.
In some cases, that means having our writers and editors test products to see how they perform in real life. In others, we rely on crowdsourcing reviewer feedback from retail sites.
For this review, our writer tested some of the products herself. She also combed through online reviews looking for well-rated products made with sustainability in mind.
Best sustainable toothpaste tablets
- Price: $$$
- Key ingredients: nano-hydroxyapatite, coconut oil, baking soda, xylitol
- Noteworthy features: non-chalky, foams well, vegan, naturally whitening
- What makes it sustainable: plastic-free and waterless
Toothpaste tablets are an alternative to the billions of nonrecyclable plastic toothpaste tubes made annually.
With Huppy, choose from a one-time purchase of 62 tablets in peppermint or charcoal, with an included recyclable aluminum case. Or get the subscription option: a 4-month supply with compostable refills shipped to you every 4 months.
“Although fluoridated toothpastes have the largest amount of clinical evidence in preventing caries, toothpastes containing nano-hydroxyapatite have been available since the 1980s, were approved in 1993 … and have significant clinical evidence supporting their effectiveness in preventing caries,” says Dr. Bennett Tochukwu Amaechi, a professor at the University of Texas Health San Antonio School of Dentistry.
In addition to naturally whitening, freshening breath, remineralizing enamel, and reducing sensitivity, Huppy tablets are vegan, cruelty, and plastic-free. These tabs have a minty flavor and a non-chalky texture that foams in the traditional toothpaste way, without the traditional plastic waste.
Plus, they work well in kids’ and adults’ bathrooms alike. The aluminum case is small and keeps things tidy — no more oozing toothpaste tubes!
- These toothpaste tablets have a minty flavor and a non-chalky texture that foams well.
- The subscription program has several refill options to help you minimize your plastic waste.
- They can help naturally whiten teeth, freshen breath, remineralize enamel, and reduce tooth sensitivity.
- These toothpaste tablets are made without fluoride, which can help prevent demineralization.
- They contain xylitol, which is toxic to pets, so you’ll need to store them away from pets.
Best sustainable toothpaste
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: nano-hydroxyapatite, bamboo salt, baking soda
- Noteworthy features: free of sweeteners, dyes, and flavor enhancers, has a unique flavor
- What makes it sustainable: mostly plastic-free (cap is plastic)
If brushing your teeth can be an eco-friendly ritual of purpose and intention, OJOOK is showing the way.
The company’s toothpaste is formulated with 12 ingredients, including nano-hydroxyapatite to remineralize enamel and prevent sensitivity and bamboo salt to promote healthy gums and fresh breath. And a note to frequent travelers: the 3-ounce tube is TSA friendly.
It’s made without the lengthy list of chemicals found in many commercial toothpastes, including sodium lauryl sulfate, texture-enhancing polyethylene glycols and their derivatives, carrageenan, or cellulose gum. There are also no sweeteners, coloring, or flavor enhancers. However, the toothpaste also lacks fluoride.
All of that amounts to a very distinctive brushing experience with minimal foam, a mildly salted pine flavor, and a clean, refreshed sensation.
OJOOK toothpaste is packaged in a recyclable aluminum tube. The brand also sells bamboo toothbrushes with compostable handles and biodegradable dental floss made from Italian silk treated with bamboo salt and ethical beeswax. From formulas to packaging, the brand is committed to sustainability.
- This toothpaste is packaged in a recyclable aluminum tube, and both the plastic cap and the paper carton packaging can be recycled as well.
- It’s made with just 12 ingredients and doesn’t contain the chemicals used in many commercial toothpastes.
- Reviewers note that after brushing, a fresh, clean sensation lingers longer than with other toothpastes.
- Not everyone will like the lightly salted pine flavor, which is different from traditional mint toothpaste.
- This toothpaste doesn’t foam as much as traditional ones.
Best sustainable electric toothbrush
- Price: $$$
- Key materials: rechargeable battery, replaceable head
- Noteworthy features: powerful battery, USB charge, replaceable heads
- What makes it sustainable: only the head needs regular replacement, which decreases plastic waste
The Hydrosonic Pro falls squarely in the “investment toothbrush” category, which is a more sustainable option because you’re not throwing the toothbrush away every few months.
The brush head does need replacement just like a typical toothbrush, but it’s far less plastic waste than regularly chucking a traditional toothbrush.
With three brush head options, this toothbrush should work for just about anyone — including people with braces or implants. It also comes with a travel case and charges via USB, so you can keep it charged on the go.
More often than not, you won’t need the case to charge it, though, as you can expect over 60 minutes of brushing time, or up to 3 weeks’ worth of twice-daily brushes.
While the brush heads can’t be tossed in curbside recycling, you can collect them and then send to a company like TerraCycle for recycling.
The site doesn’t provide clear information on the product’s warranty.
- This electric toothbrush minimizes plastic waste since you only have to replace the brush heads.
- It’s easily charged via USB, and each charge nets about 60 minutes of brushing time.
- There are different brush head options to suit individual needs like braces or implants.
- It’s an expensive initial investment, though the cost pays off with long-term use.
- The brush heads can’t be put in curbside recycling.
Best sustainable manual toothbrush
- Price: $
- Key materials: recycled ocean plastic
- Noteworthy features: dentist-designed, selection of colors available, made with ocean plastic
- What makes it sustainable: the brush is made from ocean plastic, and the company removes even more plastic for each brush purchased
The Cocofloss Cocobrush is a fluffy, dentist-designed mix of tall, tapered bristles and short, rounded bristles with a compact, angled head. All that makes for an incredibly gentle bushing experience.
Plus, I love the colors! The handle is made with approximately 98% recycled Oceanworks plastic, while the bristles are made of nonrecycled polyester.
When it’s time to replace your brush, Cocofloss recommends sending it to a program, like TerraCycle, for recycling.
However, keep in mind that most plastic can only be recycled a handful of times before it gets downcycled, or turned into a product of lesser value. When TerraCycle receives boxes of plastic waste, they break it down into plastic pellets. The pellets can be used to make things like park benches.
- The dentist-designed construction combines different bristles and an angled head for a gentle brushing experience.
- The toothbrush comes in a range of fun colors.
- They’re made with a primarily recycled ocean plastic, and for every toothbrush purchase, the company removes 10 more toothbrushes worth of ocean plastics.
- They’re still made with plastic, which has a limited life span, even if most of it is recycled.
- They can’t be put in curbside recycling.
Best sustainable bamboo toothbrush
- Price: $$
- Key materials: castor beans, bamboo
- Noteworthy features: completely plant based, compostable
- What makes it sustainable: made from bamboo, compostable at home
This bamboo toothbrush is 100% plant-based and sold in packs of two. The bristles are made from castor beans, and the handle is bamboo grown with no chemicals or pesticides.
The toothbrush twists apart for easy travel, which also means 50% less packaging than many other toothbrushes. The handle can go directly into your home or farmers’ market compost, and Bite offers instructions for composting the bristles on the company’s website.
Bite’s commitment to sustainability extends to all products, which are packaged in glass or compostable pouches and shipped in kraft envelopes padded with post-consumer recycled newspapers or corrugated cardboard. It’s all recyclable or compostable at home, and it’s all part of Bite’s decision to avoid plastics.
- These toothbrushes are completely plant-based.
- They have a clever twist-part design, which means 50% less packaging.
- They can be composted at home.
- Some reviewers note that the toothbrush can be hard to take apart once it’s been put together.
- A handful of customers said the bristles can come loose.
Best sustainable dental floss
- Price: $
- Key ingredients: recycled water bottles
- Noteworthy features: recyclable packaging, refillable containers, fun flavors
- What makes it sustainable: refillable and recyclable packaging
Between the bright colors and out-of-the-box flavors (think: coconut, passionfruit, strawberry, and watermelon), Cocofloss has cornered the flossing-is-fun market.
But the company has an eye on sustainability with floss, too. Both the outer packaging and the floss container itself are recyclable, though you’ll probably want to keep the container.
After you buy your first one, you can buy a set of refill spools that come in compostable packaging.
One downside is that the floss itself — which is woven from recycled water bottles — isn’t recyclable.
- This floss comes with refill spools in compostable packaging.
- It’s made from recycled water bottles.
- It comes in a ton of fun flavors and colors.
- The floss itself isn’t recyclable.
- Only the mint variety is made with 100% natural fragrance. The others include a mix of natural and synthetic ingredients made at an Italian fragrance shop.
Best sustainable silk dental floss
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: mulberry silk, glass, steel
- Noteworthy features: biodegradable, refills available
- What makes it sustainable: fully biodegradable and compostable
If anyone deserves credit for kick-starting the sustainable oral care movement, it’s Jodi Breau, the co-founder of Dental Lace.
Her refillable floss is as close to zero waste as it gets. The glass container has a stainless steel cap, and the floss itself is 100% mulberry silk, making it biodegradable and home-compostable.
Once you buy your first container, you can get refills of the spools only. The bags the refills come in are compostable, and the boxes are 100% post-consumer paperboard. The only waste is the waterproof label on the container itself, but that’s something you’ll only buy once.
Keep in mind that, since the floss is made of silk, it won’t work for vegans. However, the brand does sell vegan floss made of corn-based bioplastic. It comes in the same glass container as the silk floss.
- This floss is made from silk, so it’s biodegradable and can be composted at home.
- The container can be recycled.
- Refills are available.
- Because it’s made with silk, it’s not vegan.
- Not everyone will like the feel of silk floss.
Best sustainable water flosser
- Price: $$$
- Key ingredients: N/A
- Noteworthy features: rechargeable
- What makes it sustainable: minimal waste, lower profile than other versions
The BURST Water Flosser is a handheld water flosser that eliminates the separate tank, cord, hose, and wand of traditional versions.
It’s another investment piece, which means you’re not tossing nonrecyclable used floss or containers every month or two. However, you’ll need a replacement tip every 6 months or so. The company offers a subscription service to make it easier.
The flosser can be used with three different tips:
- Classic Tip: works with the flosser’s standard mode and is a good choice for the average person
- Perio Tip: has a silicone top and is designed for folks with sensitivity
- Ortho Tip: has tiny, clustered bristles to help clean around orthodontic work.
It’s a little beefier than I expected, and it took a few tries before I could use it without dousing myself or the bathroom. But it does an excellent job of cleaning between my teeth and along the gum line. Plus, it charges easily with a USB.
It’s hard to discern how many recharges you’ll get from the flosser, but one customer service representative said she’s had her flosser for more than 3 years. If the battery dies, and you’re a member of the tip replacement program, you have a lifetime warranty on the product, so you could get a replacement. For those not enrolled, it comes with a 1-year warranty.
- It’s a handheld alternative to traditional water flossers that doesn’t require tubes or a tank.
- It eliminates much of the waste associated with traditional floss.
- It effectively cleans along the gumline and between teeth.
- It’s on the bulky side.
- It takes some practice to use it well.
Best sustainable mouthwash
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: mint
- Noteworthy features: no artificial dyes, alcohol-free
- What makes it sustainable: plastic-free packaging
While lots of smaller brands are cropping up in the eco-friendly dental care field, mainstream companies are also focusing on sustainability.
Case in point? Colgate Swish Mouthwash, which is packaged in a fully recyclable aluminum bottle with an aluminum cap.
This alcohol-free mouthwash doesn’t have artificial dyes and is flavored with real mint. The company claims the antibacterial mouthwash can “swish away 99% of germs.”
- It comes in a fully recyclable aluminum bottle.
- It’s made without artificial dyes and contains no alcohol.
- It’s flavored with real mint.
- It’s on the pricey side for mouthwash.
Best sustainable mouthwash tablets
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: sodium bicarbonate, essential oils
- Noteworthy features: zero waste, compact packaging, cruelty and gluten free
- What makes it sustainable: plastic-free packaging
These zero-waste mouthwash tablets are designed to freshen breath and protect oral health. Just drop one of these vegan tablets in water, then swish and spit. They’re made with cruelty-free and gluten-free ingredients.
The packaging is fully recyclable or compostable, from the glass jar and aluminum cap to the paper label printed with vegetable ink.
Online reviewers say the tablets fizz nicely but don’t burn like some traditional mouthwashes. Instead, they provide a gentle, clean feeling.
The mouthwash tablets come in two bottle sizes: 180 or 720 tablets, lasting you 3 months or a year, respectively. Even so, because these come in tablet form, rather than liquid, the containers are relatively small to what you’d need for that quantity of mouthwash.
- These zero-waste tablets are vegan and easy to use, with no burning sensation.
- They’re made with cruelty and gluten-free ingredients.
- All packaging is fully recyclable or compostable.
- Some reviewers think they take too long to dissolve.
- They’re made in England, so they’re not super easy to find in the United States.
Best sustainable whitening strips
- Price: $$$
- Key ingredients: hydrogen peroxide, peppermint
- Noteworthy features: less packaging than other brands, recyclable box
- What makes it sustainable: no plastic strips
Eco-friendly teeth-whitening strips? Believe it! The company says these are clinically proven to safely whiten teeth up to 7 shades in 14 days, and the dissolving strips come in a foil packet without the usual plastic strip.
It’s a one-step process with less packaging than other brands and no messy clean up. Plus, the box is totally recyclable.
The brand also has two flavors of toothpaste, which come packaged in tubes made of bioplastic from renewable sugarcane grown responsibly in Brazilian forests.
What’s more, ELIMS will send you a prepaid shipping label, and you can ship at least five oral care products — that includes toothpaste tubes, caps, toothbrushes, floss containers, etc., from any brand — to the company for recycling through TerraCycle.
The brand is also rolling out floss made with recycled water bottles and packaged in completely recyclable and renewable packaging. This will be their most sustainable product to date.
- According to the company, these strips are clinically proven to whiten teeth up to 7 shades in 14 days.
- The packaging is entirely recyclable.
- The company sends a prepaid shipping label so you can send back oral care products from any brand for recycling through TerraCycle.
- These strips cost more than other whitening strips.
|Product||Price||Key ingredients||Noteworthy features||What makes it sustainable|
|Huppy Toothpaste Tablets||$$$||nano-hydroxyapatite, coconut oil, baking soda, xylitol||non-chalky, foams well, vegan, naturally whitening||plastic-free and waterless|
|OJOOK Toothpaste with nHA and Bamboo Salt||$$||nano-hydroxyapatite, bamboo salt, baking soda||free of sweeteners, dyes, and flavor enhancers; has a unique flavor||mostly plastic-free (cap is plastic)|
|Curaprox Hydrosonic Pro Toothbrush||$$$||rechargeable battery, replaceable heads||powerful battery, USB charge, and charging case for on-the-go use||fewer smaller parts to replace reduces plastic waste|
|Cocofloss Cocobrush||$||recycled ocean plastic||dentist-designed, choice of colors, made with ocean plastic||made from ocean plastic, which removes plastic from our waters|
|Brush, by Bite||$$||castor beans, bamboo||completely plant based, compostable||made from bamboo and compostable at home|
|Cocofloss Single||$||recycled water bottles||recyclable packaging, refillable containers, fun flavors||refillable and recyclable packaging|
|Dental Lace Zero Waste 100% Silk Floss||$$||mulberry silk||biodegradable, refills available||fully biodegradable and compostable|
|BURST Water Flosser||$$$||rechargeable battery||rechargeable||zero waste and lower profile than other versions|
|Colgate Swish Mouthwash||$$||mint||no artificial dyes, alcohol-free||plastic-free packaging|
|Georganics Mouthwash Tablets||$$||sodium bicarbonate, essential oils||zero waste, cruelty- and gluten-free||plastic-free packaging|
|ELIMS Magic Melt-Away Teeth Whitening Masks||$$$||hydrogen peroxide, peppermint||minimal packaging, recyclable box||no plastic strips|
If sustainability is important to you, there are a few key things to keep in mind as you shop for oral care products.
- Limited plastic: Minimizing plastic is a major focus for customers interested in reducing their environmental toll and for manufacturers of sustainable oral care products. You’ll want to look for brands that are transparent about their materials, and don’t rely on tons of plastic. If brands do use plastic, note where it’s from. For example, Cocofloss derives materials for its toothbrush and floss from recycled plastics.
- Sustainable packaging and materials: Plant-based materials are even better than plastics, as they degrade over time. You might also like trying different materials, like toothpaste tablets instead of traditional tube-based toothpastes. Keep an eye out for brands that use recycled materials in their packaging, too.
- Refill plans: Minimizing waste is easy when you have a refill plan for your toothbrush head, toothbrush tablets, or floss. Cocofloss, for example, allows you to purchase refills with three floss spools that can be popped into your container as needed. Like other companies, they also offer a subscription service.
- Shipping: Some companies offer carbon-offset shipping options. That means a company is investing in actions that counteract, or reduce, the carbon emissions caused by sending a product to your door.
What’s the most eco-friendly toothbrush?
The most eco-friendly toothbrush is one that can be fully composted.
If you’re looking for a truly eco-friendly toothbrush, you’ll want to shop for options made with plant-based materials, such as bamboo.
You may also want to consider an electric or rechargeable toothbrush. Rather than throwing away a standard plastic or plant-based toothbrush every month or so, with an electric toothbrush, you can simply replace the head.
What makes an oral care product sustainable?
Oral care products that are designed with sustainability often use recycled materials. Alternatively, they may use plant-based materials that are compostable or biodegradable. They also minimize waste with refill options.
Packaging is also worth considering when you’re looking for sustainable oral care products. In this case, recyclable options that minimize plastic may be better.
Are sustainable oral care products as effective as non-sustainable products?
Absolutely! All of the sustainable oral care products on our list, along with many others, work just as well as non-sustainable options to keep your pearly whites sparkling.
Eco-friendly oral care has come a long way, so you don’t have to compromise a bright, beautiful smile to do your part for the planet.
Even swapping one element of your oral care routine — switching to toothpaste tablets or ditching your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo version — can have a big payoff for the environment.
Whatever you use to keep your teeth clean, consider checking TerraCycle to see if the brand you’re using is a partner. Before you toss that brush or tube, you might be able to recycle it for free, or purchase one of TerraCycle’s zero-waste boxes.
Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.