Less Disposable Living: Dental Care

“It’s like looking for a needle in a needle factory. It is one piece of debris among billions floating in the ocean.” describing the search for the debris of MH370.The ocean is full of debris,literally. It reminded to add to the “Less Disposable Living” ,about the thought process behind each consumption.

My toothpaste has been replaced by ‘soap’ for about a year or so. Castile soap, to be exact.

castille It is a traditional recipe for soap with fairly simple ingredients; ingredients that are recognizable, pronounceable and if really inclined so, homemade-able. The soap comes in a single layer of paper packaging. Unlike toothpaste, it does not dehydrate the interior of the mouth. Two people on two separate occasions commented about my supposedly whiter teeth.

Dr-Bronners-Pure-Castile-Soap-Almond-018787781050Whiter teeth was not on the agenda when the swap took place. The caution note on toothpaste tube “If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact Poison Control Central right away” did not bother either.

colgateThe entirely plastic packaging in toothpaste was the deciding factor. Let’s play ‘where’s Waldo’. Can you spot the toothpaste cap (among myriads of other bottle caps) on the image below?

Kure Laysan CarcassToothpaste vs. soap was a more efficient swap compared to toothbrushes. As for toothbrush, ‘preserve’ toothbrushes are currently in use. This is only better than other brands. They are sustainable (since sustainability merely means ‘good for now’) considering they are made in USA, are made of recycled yogurt containers, come in return postage packaging and get downcycled (made to something inferior in quality than what was previously) to other products after their use. The reason this is not really the best solution is because these toothbrushes are still plastic, a material of which every molecule that was ever created, still exists. In addition to that, the bristles are made of virgin material and the whole process of ‘closing the loop'(when the company takes care of the discard in an ecological manner) still consumes energy and resources.

preserve

So what is the greenest option for oral hygiene? As with everything else, greenest solution often is the simplest one. Here’s a clue-in North America, it can be found in any Bangladeshi or Arab grocery store or on Amazon and in Bangladesh, it can be found in Kakrail masjid or on the spread of a footpath vendor or on a tree-good ol’ miswak. The ultimate green and minimalist ‘product’.

MiswakMy father’s (a miswak user) unfortunate dental record and therefore ultimately vanity is the only reason that has so far deterred me from using it but I ‘aspire’ to move to miswak one day. Guess what, that is where North America is heading as well with this product (!).

miswak_this_kuwait_ksa_jordan_lebanon_uae_toothbrush

While you marinate in the comic bit of it, below is rather an easy game of ‘find the toothbrush’.

bird carcass barried in plastic-toothbrush

Lastly, dental floss is an area yet to be greenified. I hope to make the switch to silk once run out of regular plastic encased floss. It could be bought packaging free in sewing supply stores.

We ,the consumers, tend to conveniently disregard the enormous voting power of each choice made. As much as we like to believe, the great pacific garbage patch (a floating, plastic graveyard stretching from hundreds of miles in North Pacific ocean and in the Atlantic) is not a result of choices and actions of faraway entities called ‘evil corporations’. We vote for their product and actions with our purchasing power. It is a direct outcome of choices made by each consumer.

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