Zero Waste Dental Routine

While bamboo toothbrushes are well known and now available widely in health stores, plastic-free dental care products such as toothpaste or dental floss can be tricky to find locally. I had the idea to write this post since I recently found the Graal, a plastic-free liquid mouthwash! Yes, I will talk about it :)

When possible, I've used the database available on The Truth About Cosmetics website to check if the ingredients could be considered clean. The notation is ranging from "very good" (with 3 green smileys) to "not recommended" (with 3 red emoticons). The website is very reliable and I trust the information available on this website.

Since Brexit happened, more Irish/EU online stores will be shared to avoid any Duty or VAT surprise. The country will be indicated for clarification.

Disclaimer: I share in this post my opinion about products I've tried. It is not because I did not have a great experience with a product that means the product was bad. We all have different expectations when trying out products :)

Toothpaste tablets - Georganics

The famous UK brand offers a wide range of dental products which are available online and in brick-and-mortar stores in Ireland. They offer toothpaste tablets in different flavours such as activated charcoal, spearmint, orange, tea tree. I've tried the peppermint one:

How to use it? Chew one tablet in your mouth, let it dissolve. Then brush, as usual, spit out and rinse well.

Pros: Easy to use, travel-friendly, plastic-free packaging, different flavours to suit everyone, suitable for vegans, free from SLS, Triclosan & parabens, cruelty-free.

Cons: The texture is not for everyone, not sure I would recommend it to someone who is just starting to use more natural products.

Price: From €3.60 for 60 tablets

Where to buy the tablets: Little green shop (IE), Minimal Waste Grocery (IE), Georganics (UK)

More stockists here

Toothpaste sensitive - Ben & Anna

While I find the Georganics tablets very good, I am not a big fan of their mineral toothpaste: the packaging is great and similar to the Ben & Anna toothpaste packaging: a glass jar with an aluminium lid and a small wooden spatula. The list of ingredients is very good but I don't like the texture of the paste. I find it too sticky and it does not give me a feeling of super clean teeth. Ben & Anna toothpaste succeeds thanks to a smoother texture in my opinion.

How to use it? Apply a small amount with the bamboo spatula on your toothbrush and clean your teeth as usual. You can also use any other small spoon or dip the toothbrush directly into the jar.

Pros: Similar to mainstream tubes of toothpaste. I would highly recommend this one for the 1st switch to a zero-waste dental product. Certified natural cosmetics by NATRUE, the vegan toothpaste protects against tooth decay and it's packed in a glass jar. Free from parabens, EDTA, phthalates, triclosan, SLS, formaldehyde, peroxide, fluoride and microplastic. The jars however can be disposed of in the glass container and the lids in the recycle bin. The toothpaste is made in Europe.

Cons: The jars cannot be returned to Benn & Anna at the moment. However, they recommend using them for decoration or storage.

Price: From €6.99

Where to buy it: Evergreen (IE), Ben & Anna (DE), Ecco-Verde (AT)

You can find more stockists here

Dental Floss Activated Charcoal - Georganics

To make the product without plastic, the UK-based company uses Corn PLA floss which is biodegradable and compostable. The refills used to be available in 30 metres but they now offer it in 50 metres and 100 metres.

How to use it? Pull out about 30 centimetres of floss, roll the floss around your thumb as usual. Floss slowly close to the gum line.

Pros: The dental floss with activated charcoal is vegan as they use candelilla wax. The packaging is a refillable glass dispenser, you just need to buy the refill which is packed in a small kraft box. They use organic ingredients and the packaging is also compostable.

Cons: Be careful as some variations are not vegan friendly. The jar is fragile. As I am clumsy, I broke the small glass jar but fixed it with paper tape. Still works like a charm and I will probably keep the glass jar for a while. It is something to keep in mind out of safety concern, especially if you have children for example. The product is made in China.

Price: From €5.89

Where to buy: Little green shop (IE), Georganics (UK), Ecco-Verde (AT)

More stockists here

Bamboo Interdental Brush - The Humble Co.

The Swedish company works with dentists to develop their oral care products with sustainability in mind. Their interdental brushes are available in different sizes: from 0.4mm to 0.8mm. The handle is made from sustainably-grown bamboo which is biodegradable. The bristles are made out of nylon-6. The brushes are sold in a compostable paper wrapper and a recyclable box made from recycled materials. Also, the brushes are reusable.

How to use it? Gently clean between the teeth with the interdental brush right below the gumline.

Pros: Vegan, cruelty-free and BPA free.

Cons: I bought the smallest size (0.4mm) but it is still too big for me. The experience is not very pleasant. However, I've checked their competitors and haven't found anything smaller. While the handle is compostable, the bristles can be at best recycled or disposed of in the general waste. The brand advises to contact the local recycling facility to see if the bristles can be recycled in your area as they are very small - curbside recycling might not work. In order to disassemble the brush, a pair of pliers is needed. You will find more details about the care and disposal here. The brushes are made in China.

Price: From €3.99

Where to buy it: Earth Mother (IE), Evergreen (IE), The Humble Co. (SE)

You can find more stockists here

Toothbrush - Tio

Bamboo toothbrushes are great for the environment, as they are often compostable (except for the bristles in some cases). I used them for years, tried different brands but I found they did not clean my teeth well or removed the plaque efficiently. Also, it appears my lips got very irritated. I have been using Tio toothbrushes for more than 2 years now.

Tio, a German-based company, makes toothbrushes with bioplastic which is made from plant-based raw materials, mostly from sugar cane. The bristles are made from renewable raw materials, including castor oil.

From my understanding, bamboo brushes are more sustainable but Tio seems to be a better choice for me at the moment, dental health-wise. The plan is to use Tio brushes until the handle breaks to find a better option from there.

How to use it? Brush your teeth as usual. Every 3-4 months, just replace the brush head by pressing the pin at the bottom of the new brush against the small hole on the handle. The little pressure will release the old head. The new brush head can be inserted now.

Pros: The handle is ergonomic and offers a good grip, the head is replaceable. The toothbrush is offered with a recyclable & hygienic travel cap. Different degrees of bristle stiffness and different colours of replacement heads are available, really handy in multi-person households. The toothbrush is entirely manufactured & packed in Germany.

Cons: The top of the handle can be damaged in the long term due to attaching/ removing the brushes and the handle might need to be replaced at some stage. Mine got a bit damaged but still hold brushes, I have to be careful every time I am replacing the brush though. According to Tio, the travel case and handle can be disposed of in the recycle bin. Regarding the head brushes, they explain plant-based plastics are not accepted in any industrial composting plant due to a long cycle time for rotting even though the bioplastics used to make their head brushes are compostable in theory. Germany does not allow such materials to be disposed of in the bio bin. I've consulted to know how bioplastics should be disposed of in Ireland: follow the clean/dry/loose process and place in the recycle bin like regular plastics. However, they add that "only packaging that is certified as compostable should be placed in your food waste bin".

Price: From €4.90 for the complete toothbrush, from €7.50 for the refills (2 replaceable heads)

Where to buy it: Little Green Shop (IE), Tio (DE), Ecco-Verde (Austria)

Sensitive Mouthwash - Ben & Anna

The Graal I found online a few months ago! I was not sure if the bottle was made of glass until I received it... and yes, it is glass! Strangely, this product is not available on the Ben & Anna website.

The mouthwash is formulated with Aloe Vera, Sage and Sea Bucktown for sensitive teeth.

The below ingredients is not available in the database:

Heptyl Undecylenate - according to, this ingredient is a surfactant with a good rating.

How to use it? Gargle with 20 ml/4 teaspoons for 30 seconds. Spit it out, do not swallow.

Pros: As said above, it is packed in a glass bottle. The liquid is vegan, cruelty-free made with clean ingredients and seems effective so far: my gums are sometimes irritated and the product helps to reduce the inflammation. Free from any harmful or controversial ingredients such as phthalates, parabens, microplastics, SLS or formaldehyde. The mouthwash is made in Europe.

Cons: Not a great option when travelling. More suitable options would be to pour the liquid in a 100 ml bottle or to switch to mouthwash tablets.

Price: From €9.99

Where to buy it: Organico (IE), The Vegan Kind Supermarket (UK), Ecco-Verde (Austria)

You can find more stockists here

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© 2021 by Justine le Guil - Handcrafted and Natural Cosmetics  - Dublin, Ireland. Photographs: Cathy Marion