In the pursuit of sustainable living, every small change counts. One area that’s often overlooked when reducing plastic waste is our oral hygiene routine. Many of us use traditional dental floss, typically made of non-biodegradable materials, contributing to environmental pollution. Fortunately, a growing array of eco-friendly and effective reusable floss options are now available.

In this guide, we’ll explain why flossing is essential for keeping your mouth healthy and why it might be time to give up traditional floss. We’ll also introduce you to nine reusable alternatives that prioritize your oral health while caring for the planet. Plus, we’ll offer tips on effectively using these reusable floss picks.

Key Takeaways

  • Flossing is essential to maintaining good oral hygiene, removing bits of food and plaque between teeth and along the gumline.
  • Regular flossing also helps prevent cavities, gum diseases, and bad breath. 
  • Most people use traditional floss varieties that contribute significantly to environmental damage.
  • Shifting towards reusable floss products is a sensible choice for your health and the environment. 
  • Reusable floss options offer a sustainable alternative to traditional dental floss, reducing plastic waste and supporting environmental conservation efforts.
  • Choose from various eco-friendly floss picks, including silk, bamboo charcoal-infused, and plant-based options, to find the best fit for your oral care needs.
  • By switching to reusable floss, you can prioritize both your oral health and the planet’s health, contributing to a cleaner, greener future.
Woman Brushing Teeth with Floss

What Flossing Does to Your Mouth and Teeth

Flossing is essential to maintaining good oral hygiene, a fact supported by the American Dental Association (ADA). According to the ADA, using an interdental cleaner, such as floss, removes bits of food and plaque between teeth and along the gumline.

Regular flossing isn’t just good at ridding your teeth of plaque. According to Healthline, it also promotes healthier gums and contributes to a brighter smile by:

  • Keeping Cavities at Bay: Cavities, or tiny holes in your teeth’s enamel, can develop over time due to plaque buildup. The more plaque you have, the higher your risk for these cavities. Flossing at least once daily helps eliminate hidden food particles and plaque, reducing your chance of tooth decay.
  • Preventing Gum Disease: Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, is marked by gum inflammation and bleeding during brushing or flossing. Without treatment, it can escalate to periodontitis, leading to gum recession and possibly loose teeth. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and regular dentist visits for cleanings can help you avoid such gum diseases.
  • Reducing Bad Breath: Bad breath, or halitosis, is often caused by decaying food stuck between teeth or plaque buildup. Regular flossing removes these potential causes, keeping your breath fresh.
  • Helping with Heart Health: A 2019 study found a link between rigorous oral hygiene and a lower risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure. While the American Heart Association suggests the connection might be more about overall health, maintaining good oral hygiene through flossing is a straightforward way to support both dental and general well-being.

The Trouble with Traditional Dental Floss 

Although dental floss is undoubtedly crucial for overall dental health, the traditional varieties most people use contribute significantly to environmental damage.

Most traditional dental floss options are made from nylon or Teflon, both of which are derived from non-renewable resources and do not biodegrade. Additionally, many flosses come in plastic packaging, further adding to environmental pollution. As these single-use products pile up in landfills and oceans, they pose serious threats to wildlife and ecosystems.

A study on the environmental impact of eight inter-dental cleaning aids in the UK market revealed that floss picks have the most significant ecological footprint. Among 16 examined categories, floss picks ranked worst in 13, closely followed by inter-dental brushes (IDB). To determine its environmental impact, the study assessed each product’s entire life cycle—covering raw material extraction, manufacturing, transportation, retail consumer use, and disposal.

floss material statistics

Image Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10092584/

Beyond its environmental impact, traditional dental floss also raises health concerns. A joint investigation by Environmental Health News and Mamavation discovered that 39 different floss brands contain Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). The levels of PFAS in these products varied dramatically, from 11 parts per million (ppm) to a staggering 248,900 ppm. PFAS are synthetic chemicals used since the 1940s across various products, including personal care items, household goods, food packaging, firefighting foam, and even in some industrial processes.

The presence of PFAS in everyday items is troubling because these compounds have been linked to several health issues. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has highlighted the potential human health effects of PFAS exposure. Research indicates that certain levels of PFAS can lead to various concerning health outcomes, such as:

  • Reproductive issues like decreased fertility or higher blood pressure during pregnancy. 
  • Developmental delays, changes in growth patterns, or behavioral shifts in children.
  • Increased risk of certain cancers, including prostate, kidney, and testicular cancers.
  • Weakened immune system, making it harder for the body to fight infections and reducing the effectiveness of vaccines. 
  • Disruption of natural hormone levels.
  • Higher cholesterol and obesity risks. 

Our Top 9 Reusable Floss Picks

The revelations on the environmental toll and the presence of PFAS in some dental floss brands highlight the need to reevaluate our daily healthcare routines and product choices. Given these concerns, shifting towards reusable floss products is a sensible choice for your health and the environment. 

If you’re ready to make the change but need help determining where to begin, we’ve compiled a list of top-recommended reusable floss options to explore. This guide aims to help you find a sustainable alternative that fits seamlessly into your dental routine.

It’s important to highlight that when we refer to ‘reusable’ floss, we’re talking about floss that can be reloaded into floss holders or picks designed for multiple uses. While using your fingers to floss is simple and effective, the convenience of a floss holder or pick can make daily flossing more effortless and appealing for many people.

However, it’s unfortunate and disappointing to note that most of these reusable floss holders and picks available on the market are still manufactured from plastic. This reality somewhat undermines the sustainability goal of switching to reusable floss, as the holders themselves contribute to plastic waste. Considering this, our focus shifts more towards the floss itself, emphasizing options that embody true sustainability without contributing further to plastic pollution.

Additionally, these flosses are refillable. This innovative approach is not only convenient but also environmentally friendly. Instead of buying a new container every time, users can simply purchase refills. This significantly reduces plastic waste, making it a smart choice for eco-conscious consumers.

The refill process is straightforward and designed for ease of use. Once the floss runs out, you can easily replace it with a new roll. That means you can keep the stylish container, contributing to both aesthetic continuity in your bathroom and global sustainability efforts.

1. Dental Lace Refillable Silk Floss 

Dental Lace Refillable Silk Floss 

Dental Lace is a pioneering company in sustainable dental care with a clear mission to eliminate plastic floss from the planet. It offers refillable dental floss options designed to be both eco-friendly and effective. 

The Dental Lace Refillable Silk Floss is a sustainable flossing alternative in a refillable glass container with a stainless steel cap fitted with a floss cutter. The floss is made from 100 percent Italian silk, 100 percent plastic-free, and coated in vegan candelilla wax, providing smooth gliding between teeth. With its eco-friendly packaging made from post-consumer paperboard and compostable label and refill packs, Dental Lace’s silk floss is a top choice for environmentally conscious flossing. 

2. Terra & Co. Brilliant Black Dental Floss

Terra & Co. Brilliant Black Dental Floss

Terra & Co. is a holistic oral care brand that blends ancient Eastern practices with modern Western dentistry. The brand is committed to more than just cleaning; it aims to soothe, heal, and balance through its carefully crafted product range. Transparency is critical for Terra & Co., with every ingredient in its unique formulas thoughtfully chosen for its safety and effectiveness.

Terra & Co. Brilliant Black Dental Floss is one of its best products, evident from its multiple awards. The dental floss features a bamboo charcoal-infused silk thread that effectively cleans between teeth while absorbing impurities and toxins. It’s also enhanced with other natural ingredients like coconut oil, Candelilla wax, and peppermint and spearmint essential oils. This fluoride-free, reusable floss is vegan, cruelty-free, and comes in 100% recyclable FSC-certified paper packaging. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to upgrade their oral hygiene routine while staying environmentally conscious.

3. Public Goods Dental Floss

Public Goods Dental Floss

Public Goods is a brand for those seeking healthier and more sustainable lifestyle choices, striving to make these options accessible to everyone. It has developed a wide range of products that span personal care, skin care, cleaning, laundry, home goods, and food and beverages. At the heart of Public Goods’ mission is its commitment to using organic ingredients and steering clear of toxic chemicals to guarantee safety for consumers and the environment. Beyond product quality, the brand also engages in charitable acts by donating excess products to those in need. Additionally, it actively contributes to environmental conservation efforts through reforestation projects and ensures its shipping practices are carbon-neutral.

Public Goods Dental Floss truly shines among the brand’s diverse product lineup. Crafted from 100% biodegradable silk, this eco-friendly floss is enhanced with peppermint candelilla wax alongside other natural, safe ingredients, ensuring a clean and healthy smile. Its presentation is just as thoughtful as its composition: housed in a refillable glass container adorned with stainless steel accents, it adds an element of sophistication to any bathroom countertop. Furthermore, each refill spool arrives in compostable packaging, significantly reducing plastic waste.

4. The Humble Co. Natural Dental Floss Picks

The Humble Co. Natural Dental Floss Picks

Since 2013, Swedish brand The Humble Co. has been making waves in the personal care category by introducing eco-friendly and innovative solutions. The brand has successfully brought sustainability within easy reach while standing tall as a prime example of social responsibility. A significant part of its mission involves funding oral health projects for disadvantaged children around the globe. Thanks to the proceeds from its product sales, The Humble Co. has initiated beneficial projects in 106 local communities across 50 countries.

The company’s product lineup includes a variety of natural dental floss picks crafted from cornstarch-based PLA and natural, biodegradable nylon. Among these, the charcoal dental floss picks deserve special mention for their unique charcoal infusion, plant-based wax coating, and the refreshing natural scent of Mentha Piperita. These picks are vegan, cruelty-free, and dentist-approved for removing plaque and debris while being gentle on gums. In addition to their robust performance, The Humble Co. packs these products in eco-friendly and compostable packaging.  reinforcing the brand’s strong commitment to sustainability right down to the last detail.

5. ZWS Essentials Bamboo Charcoal Floss

ZWS Essentials Bamboo Charcoal Floss

The Zero Waste Store (ZWS) is a unique online destination that champions products from sustainable brands. Thanks to the vision of life partners Sarah and JJ, ZWS curates a selection of items that are 100% natural, ethically sourced, and designed to leave no waste behind. The platform’s mission is clear: to reforge the connection between humanity and nature while working diligently to protect our ecosystem.

ZWS Essentials Bamboo Charcoal Floss is an excellent and guilt-free alternative to traditional dental floss. The bamboo-based, silky floss is enhanced with charcoal and peppermint essential oil for extra cleaning power and freshness. It’s coated with Candelilla plant wax, ensuring smooth movement between teeth during use. Packaged in a refillable glass jar and accompanied by compostable packaging, this floss commits to delivering a pristine, zero-waste oral hygiene experience.

6. Eco-Dent GentleFloss Premium Dental Floss

Eco-Dent GentleFloss Premium Dental Floss

Eco-Dent delivers premium oral care products made from natural ingredients and manufactured using advanced technology. Each product it offers is formulated to help keep teeth clean and breath fresh without harming users’ health and the environment.

Eco-Dent GentleFloss Premium Dental Floss is crafted from vegan-friendly nylon filaments coated in natural beeswax and essential oils. This reusable floss is gentle on gums and tough on plaque, promoting optimal oral health. The floss dispenses directly in a recyclable cardboard dispenser, minimizing environmental impact. It is also practical and economical–with 100 yards of floss provided, users can expect it to last for months, making it a smart choice for both the planet and your pocketbook.

7. Radius Vegan Peppermint Anywhere Floss

Radius Vegan Peppermint Anywhere Floss

Radius, founded by an architect with a profound mission, has been reimagining everyday objects to make them more effective for individuals and more environmentally sustainable. Celebrating over 40 years of innovation, Radius embarked on its journey by redefining a simple tool, the toothbrush, eventually expanding its range to encompass a variety of oral care products and accessories.

The Radius Peppermint Anywhere Floss, formerly known as vegan xylitol floss sachets, lives up to its new name, offering a hassle-free flossing option for those with busy lifestyles. Crafted from soft nylon, the floss is laced with organic coconut oil, aiding in bacteria removal and teeth whitening. Furthermore, it’s fortified with organic erythritol, an ingredient known for its cavity-fighting properties, making this floss a standout choice for maintaining oral health on the go.

Each sachet contains 18 inches of vegan, biodegradable floss coated in natural xylitol for added oral health benefits. The compact packaging is compostable, making it ideal for on-the-go flossing.

8. Georganics Eco-Friendly Dental Floss

Georganics Eco-Friendly Dental Floss

Georganics was established to create natural oral-care products that exert minimal impact on human health and the environment. Central to its ethos is a staunch commitment to the exclusive use of natural ingredients, eschewing any synthetic chemicals that could potentially harm users or the planet. 

This dedication to natural, eco-friendly practices isn’t just lip service; Georganics’ efforts have been recognized and endorsed by the most reputable accreditors, including the Soil Association, The Vegan Trademark, Cruelty Free International, and Living Wage. 

Georganics presents an eco-friendly floss crafted from sustainable, fully compostable Corn-based PLA and coated in organic wax and essential oils. Georganics Eco-Friendly Dental Floss is the only one in the market without Teflon, making it an excellent alternative to polyester or nylon flosses. The organic corn-derived material ensures a smooth glide between teeth while effectively targeting plaque and debris for improved gum health. The floss arrives in a stylish glass dispenser and compostable packaging, underscoring Georganics’ deep commitment to reducing environmental impact. 

9. MABLE Refillable Floss Container

MABLE Refillable Floss Container

MABLE is a forward-thinking brand with a clear and impactful mission: to create beautiful, functional products from natural and sustainable materials to combat the global issue of plastic waste. Remaining true to its core values, MABLE offers a range of eco-friendly oral care products that are produced ethically and made from either fully compostable or reusable materials.

MABLE Refillable Floss Container is a zero-waste essential for your dental care regimen. Crafted with sustainability in mind, this natural floss is made from Ahimsa silk, ensuring a cruelty-free silk harvesting method. The floss effortlessly glides between teeth for a refreshing clean as it is coated with Candelilla wax and infused with peppermint essential oil. The floss is housed in a food-grade stainless steel dispenser that is guaranteed durable and shatterproof, making it a perfect companion for travel or on-the-go flossing. With features like an easy-cut floss tab and a refillable design, MABLE makes sustainable oral hygiene convenient and accessible. 

Reasons to Switch to Reusable Floss

Now that you’re familiar with some of the best reusable flosses available, you’re likely considering swapping your standard floss for a reusable option. Rest assured, you’re making a wise choice. Here are compelling reasons to make the switch to eco-friendly floss:

  • Reduce Plastic Waste: Opting for reusable floss can significantly decrease your plastic consumption and environmental footprint.
  • Long-Term Cost Savings: While reusable floss options may have a higher upfront cost, they ultimately save money in the long run compared to purchasing disposable floss repeatedly.
  • Superior Oral Health Benefits: Many reusable flosses are crafted from natural materials and lack harmful chemicals, offering gentler care for your teeth and gums.
  • Support Sustainable Practices: Choosing reusable floss supports companies prioritizing environmental sustainability and ethical manufacturing practices.

Best Practices for Using Reusable Floss

Embracing reusable floss is an excellent step towards sustainable living and improved dental health. To maximize the benefits of this eco-friendly choice, it’s crucial to follow some best practices. Here’s how to get the most out of your reusable floss:

  • Use Proper Technique: Gently slide the floss between teeth, forming a C-shape around each tooth and moving it up and down to remove plaque.
  • Regular Maintenance: Rinse reusable floss thoroughly after each use and allow it to air dry to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Replace as Needed: While reusable floss is designed to last, it must be replaced periodically to ensure optimal hygiene and effectiveness.

Teeth Talk Girl has created a helpful video tutorial offering a detailed, step-by-step guide on flossing teeth. This valuable resource is designed to improve your flossing technique, ensuring you effectively remove plaque and debris between teeth, contributing to better oral hygiene.

If you wear braces, flossing might seem daunting due to the extra care and time required. Despite these challenges, skipping flossing is not advisable as it’s crucial for maintaining oral health. Below is a quick guide from Healthline on how to floss when you have braces, ensuring you can keep your teeth and gums healthy without compromising your orthodontic treatment.

flossing instructions for braces

Image Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-floss#flossing-with-braces

More Considerations for Optimum Dental Health

Incorporating daily flossing into your oral hygiene routine is vital to achieving overall dental health. However, to ensure your mouth stays in top condition, there are additional practices you’ll want to adopt. Here’s what else you should consider for optimal dental health:

  • Brush Effectively: Brush your teeth twice a day. Ensure you’re brushing for at least two minutes each time, reaching all surfaces of your teeth and gently cleaning along the gum line.
  • Use the Right Tools: Opt for a toothbrush that suits your needs—manual or electric. Make sure to replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Visit your dentist at least twice yearly for professional cleanings and check-ups. These visits are crucial for preventing dental problems and catching any issues early on.
  • Mind Your Diet: What you eat affects your dental health. Limit sugary snacks and acidic drinks, as they can erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities. Instead, fill your diet with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and water to help clean your teeth and gums.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps maintain saliva levels, which naturally cleanses the mouth and prevents dry mouth, further protecting against tooth decay. A noteworthy study has revealed a compelling link between water consumption and oral health: individuals who drink more water have a reduced risk of developing dental cavities (caries) and gum disease (periodontal disease). This finding highlights the importance of hydration not just for general well-being but also as a preventive measure for maintaining optimal dental health.
  • Limit Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco can stain teeth, cause gum disease, and increase the risk of oral cancer. Limiting or quitting tobacco use can significantly improve oral health.
  • Protect Your Teeth: If you play sports or grind your teeth at night, consider wearing a mouthguard to prevent injuries and damage to your teeth.

Conclusion

Regular flossing is essential to dental hygiene, the key to dislodging food and minimizing plaque build-up between teeth. Beyond just keeping your smile bright, regular flossing confers numerous oral health advantages. Yet, the environmental toll of conventional floss, often plastic-based, cannot be ignored. Hence, embracing reusable floss options like the ones we recommend above can help upgrade your oral care routine and showcase your commitment to sustainability. 

By opting for eco-friendly alternatives, you’re actively reducing plastic waste and supporting ethical manufacturing practices. These innovative floss picks, crafted from materials like silk, bamboo charcoal, and plant-based PLA, offer superior oral health benefits while minimizing environmental impact. With refillable containers, compostable packaging, and biodegradable floss, these products align with the principles of zero waste living and responsible consumption. So, switch to reusable floss today and smile brighter, knowing you’re contributing to a cleaner, greener future—one floss at a time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of using reusable dental floss in oral care?

Using dental floss regularly is crucial for maintaining good oral hygiene. Reusable dental floss helps remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth, preventing cavities and gum diseases.

How can flossing with eco-friendly floss benefit the environment?

Eco-friendly floss is an environmentally conscious choice as it is made from recyclable materials. By opting for eco-friendly floss, you reduce plastic waste and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Is it necessary to floss every day to maintain oral health?

It is highly recommended to floss every day to ensure thorough cleaning between the teeth. Regular flossing helps in preventing gum diseases, refreshing breath, and promoting overall oral care.

How do flossers differ from traditional dental floss?

Flossers are convenient tools that combine a handle and pre-threaded floss strings. They provide an easy-grip design for efficient flossing and are ideal for individuals who find traditional flossing methods challenging.

What are the benefits of using refillable floss picks?

Refillable floss picks offer a sustainable and cost-effective solution for flossing. These picks come with refill pods to reduce waste, making them an environmentally friendly choice for maintaining oral hygiene.

How can I establish a proper flossing routine for optimal dental health?

Creating a consistent flossing routine involves breaking up the habit into daily practices. Set reminders, use slide-resistant floss, and follow correct techniques to make flossing an integral part of your oral hygiene routine. 

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