Smile, it's plastic-free!

How to keep your teeth and the environment squeaky clean.

After watching the BBC News ‘five ways to break up with plastic’ video, I decided to give a plastic-free toothpaste alternative a try!

Toothy tabs

I went back to my high-street favourite, Lush, after hearing about their ‘toothy tabs’. These tablet-sized solid alternatives to toothpastes and mouthwash come in a variety of flavours, from classic mint to lime or tea tree!

When I went into Lush I found the tabs straight away, but shock horror they were in plastic bottles! I think a staff member must have caught me making a confused “is it recycled plastic? Is it the lesser of two evils?! Is this allowed?!!” face and came over to speak to me.

I told him about wanting to cut out my plastic and asked if an alternative was available. He went on to explain that the bottles can be bought back into store where they will reuse or recycle them.

He then went on to say that in fact, any plastic bottles, plastic tops from milk or drinks bottles, and any of their black plastic tubs can be bought into store where they can recycle them for store furnishings! He then pointed to a wooden shelf in store with a counter top which was made from recycled milk bottle tops. Win.

I decided to purchase knowing that I would bring back in store (along with a bag full of milk bottle tops).

I went for Boom, a spicy mix of cola, lime, charcoal, chilli and sea salt. Sounds bizarre but it tastes like cola bottles, the charcoal acts as a natural whitener and the chilli leaves your mouth feeling fresh.

At a pretty hefty £5.95 they’re not cheap. There’s about 100 tabs in each bottle which works out to be about 6p per brush. This compares to an average tube of toothpaste which works out at just over 1p per brush. So whilst it’s not the most budget-friendly, as least there is zero waste as there’s nothing left hiding in the corners at the bottom of a tube.

A well as tabs, there’s also a range of powders and pastes available online. Georganics  natural toothpastes come in a glass jar with a metal lid. You can also purchase on Amazon so I’ll be heading there when I’m running out of tabs.

And, if you’re really adventurous, why not give making your own a go? The recipe below was shared to me from our Senior Education and Community Officer at Gibraltar Point, Vicki. Vicki is currently trying to cut down on plastic and looking for alternatives as things run out.

Later this week I’ll be having a Q&A session with Vicki so keep an eye out for that for some handy tips and tricks!

Homemade Plastic-Free Toothpowder Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 Tbsp bentonite clay (food grade)
  • 20 drops peppermint oil (food grade or essential oil)

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together until you have a paste and pop into an airtight glass jar or small tin.
  2. Before using, wet your toothbrush, shake off any surplus water, press into the powder, then brush your teeth in the normal way.

Before flouride was introduced into toothpaste, people brushed their teeth with baking soda because it's a mild abrasive that both polishes and whitens. Its antibacterial properties also kills bacteria that cause tooth decay. Bentonite clay contains calcium and binds to the bad bacteria around you teeth, tongue and gums to help remove them before you spit it out.