Why Is Dental Floss Bad for the Environment?

Why Is Dental Floss Bad for the Environment?

Dental floss is bad for the environment because it is made out of non-biodegradable, petroleum-based plastic. Along with non-recyclable packaging, traditional dental floss significantly contributes to global waste.

Living a more sustainable lifestyle can feel challenging, especially if you’re starting the search for more sustainable swaps. Here’s what you need to know to create an eco-friendly dental hygiene routine that keeps your teeth and gums healthy.

How Does Dental Floss Impact the Environment?

Because most traditional dental floss is made out of nylon, a non-biodegradable material, it takes longer to decompose in landfills—but not all floss makes it to landfills in the first place.

In fact, dental floss and other small plastics are often swept up in the disposal process and end up in the ocean. Because floss is designed to not tear, it creates significant problems for marine life. Like other plastics, dental floss can suffocate marine animals or cause serious health issues, such as digestive problems.

Many manufacturers produce waxed floss, which is stick-and stain-resistant, meaning it moves between the teeth easily. Unfortunately, wax floss is manufactured using perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs found in cookware and furniture. Although the impacts of PFCs aren’t definitive yet, research suggests that they may have detrimental effects on health.

In addition, most dental floss comes in a plastic container. If that container isn’t recyclable, it’s going to end up in a landfill, taking up space for hundreds of years.

When you consider the amount of dental floss the average person uses, it’s clear that it takes a serious toll on the environment. If everyone in the United States flossed their teeth as recommended, the plastic containers could fill up a football field six stories high each year.

Should You Stop Flossing?

Although dental floss harms the environment, you shouldn’t give up flossing for a greener routine. Countless studies have confirmed the health benefits of flossing, and it is still necessary to maintain clean, healthy teeth. Toothbrushes can’t reach all of the food particles that get stuck between our teeth. Over time, food produces harmful bacteria and plaque, leading to cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.

As a result, skipping this step isn’t the best option, even if you’re trying to go zero-waste—and reusing floss isn’t good for your teeth. It can shred the material, leaving it ineffective. Additionally, according to the American Dental Association, reusing floss can transfer bacteria around your mouth.

Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Traditional Floss

Although they can be hard to find, sustainable alternatives to traditional floss do exist. One popular option, recyclable dental floss, can help you create an eco-friendly routine. Recyclable dental floss is manufactured with sustainable materials, such as bamboo fiber, with plant-derived ingredients that help remove buildup where your toothbrush can’t reach.

For an even more sustainable swap, opt for recyclable floss that comes in a recyclable floss box. Recycle FSC certified paper dental floss boxes are 100% recyclable, so all you need to do is remove the floss cutter and recycle the box when you’re finished.

Sustainable, Non-Toxic Oral Care Products

Whether you’re searching for zero-waste floss or looking to reduce your carbon footprint, recyclable dental floss is the answer.

At Terra & Co., our biodegradable solutions to oral care add a touch of sustainable luxury to your dental hygiene routine. Shop our natural oral care products for a healthier smile—and a healthier planet.

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