Kermit the Frog may have sang “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” but when it comes to caring for your smile – and for the earth – “greening” your dental hygiene routine is surprisingly simple. Today, we’re highlighting three ways to reduce your carbon footprint and your impact on natural resources while still ensuring your smile remains healthy and beautiful.
1. Turn Off the Faucet While Brushing
The average faucet in an American home flows at a rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. If you brush your teeth for two minutes (as recommended by the American Dental Association), you’re pouring 5 gallons of clean, drinkable water down the drain. Not only does this habit send your water bill skyrocketing, it’s incredibly wasteful. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest green changes you can make to your daily dental hygiene routine. Just wet your toothbrush before applying paste, and then turn it off. Turn the faucet back on again when it’s time to rinse.
2. Opt for Eco-Friendly Dental Products
As many economists would agree, we vote with our pocketbooks every day. Choosing to purchase eco-friendly products or patronizing companies that demonstrate a commitment to eco-friendly practices and philanthropy sends a clear message that you support green businesses. A couple of affordable green products available at most health food or natural living stores (like Whole Foods or Central Market) include:
- Bamboo or recycled toothbrushes
- Natural toothpastes and mouthwashes
If you opt for natural dental care products, always discuss this with your dentist. Some “alternative” toothpastes and mouthwashes are missing key ingredients (such as fluoride) which help prevent cavities.
3. Drink Green Tea
Alright, this might not be exactly the “green” you were thinking of, but drinking green tea regularly can benefit the health of your teeth and gums. Clinical research has shown that drinking 1-3 cups of unsweetened green tea every day can significantly reduce the symptoms of gum disease and neutralize the compounds that cause bad breath. While mass-produced green tea is not necessarily produced in an eco-friendly manner, you can easily locate manufacturers who do stress sustainable growing practices and fair trade with growers.
About Your Austin Dentist
For almost 30 years, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen has provided expert general, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry services to residents and families in Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Van Wicklen’s South Austin office at (512) 448-3131.