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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 of replacing 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.
Best sustainable toothpaste tablets
- Price: $$
- What makes it sustainable: plastic-free and waterless
Toothpaste tablets are an alternative to the billions of non-recyclable plastic toothpaste tubes made annually. And Huppy is doing it right.
Choose from a one-time purchase of 62 tablets in peppermint or charcoal, with an included recyclable aluminum case. Or get the subscription option: a 4-month supply with compostable refills shipped to you every 4 months.
“Although fluoridated toothpastes have the largest amount of clinical evidence in preventing caries, toothpastes containing nano-hydroxyapatite have been available since the 1980s, were approved in 1993… and have significant clinical evidence supporting their effectiveness in preventing caries,” says Dr. Bennett Tochukwu Amaechi, a professor at the University of Texas Health San Antonio School of Dentistry.
In addition to naturally whitening, freshening breath, remineralizing enamel, and reducing sensitivity, Huppy tablets are vegan, cruelty, and plastic-free. These tabs have a minty flavor and a non-chalky texture that foams in the traditional toothpaste way, without the traditional plastic waste.
Best sustainable toothpaste
- Price: $$
- 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 just 12 ingredients, including nano-hydroxyapatite to remineralize enamel and prevent sensitivity and bamboo salt to promote healthy gums and fresh breath.
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’s also no sweeteners, coloring, or flavor enhancers.
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.
Best sustainable electric toothbrush
- Price: $$$
- What makes it sustainable: fewer parts to replace means less plastic waste
The Hydrosonic Pro falls squarely in the “investment toothbrush” category, which is a more sustainable option because you aren’t throwing the entire toothbrush away every few months.
The brush head does need replacement just like a regular toothbrush, but it’s far less plastic waste than a traditional toothbrush.
With three brush head options, this toothbrush should work for just about anyone — including those with braces or implants. It also comes with a travel case and charges via USB, so you can take it just about anywhere.
Best sustainable manual toothbrush
- Price: $
- What makes it sustainable: made from ocean plastic, which removes plastic from our waters
The Cocobrush from Cocofloss is a fluffy, dentist-designed mix of tall, tapered bristles and short, rounded bristles with a compact, angled head. All that makes for an incredibly gentle bushing experience.
Plus, I love the colors! The handle is made with approximately 98 percent recycled Oceanworks plastic, while the bristles are made of non-recycled polyester.
When it’s time to replace your brush, Cocofloss recommends sending it to a program, like TerraCycle, for recycling.
However, keep in mind that most plastic can only be recycled a handful of times before it gets downcycled — that is, turned into a product of lesser value. When TerraCycle receives boxes of plastic waste, they break it down into plastic pellets. The pellets can be used to make things, like park benches.
Best sustainable bamboo toothbrush
- Price: $$
- What makes it sustainable: made from bamboo and compostable at home
This bamboo toothbrush is 100 percent 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 percent 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.
Best sustainable vegan dental floss
- Price: $
- 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.
Best sustainable silk dental floss
- Price: $
- 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 percent 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 percent post-consumer paperboard. The only waste is the waterproof label on the container itself, but ideally 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.
Best sustainable water flosser
- Price: $$$
- What makes it sustainable: zero waste and lower profile than other versions
The BURST Water Flosser is a handheld water flosser that eliminates the separate tank, cord, hose, and wand of traditional versions.
It’s another investment piece, which means you aren’t tossing non-recyclable used floss or containers every month or two.
It’s a little beefier than I expected, and it took a few tries before I could use it without dousing myself or the bathroom. But it does an excellent job of cleaning between my teeth and along the gum line.
Best sustainable mouthwash
- Price: $
- What makes it sustainable: plastic-free packaging
While lots of smaller brands are cropping up in the eco-friendly dental care field, mainstream companies are also focusing on sustainability.
Case in point? Colgate Swish Mouthwash, which is packaged in a fully recyclable aluminum bottle with an aluminum cap.
This alcohol-free mouthwash doesn’t have artificial dyes and comes in four flavors.
Best sustainable mouthwash tablets
- Price: $$
- What makes it sustainable: plastic-free packaging and water-free
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 just provide a gentle, clean feeling.
Best sustainable whitening strips
- Price: $$$
- 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 seven 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.
Eco-friendly oral care has come a long way, so you don’t have to compromise a bright, beautiful smile just 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 environmental payoff.
Whatever you use to keep your teeth clean, make a point of 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.