2019 Master List: Dental Hygiene Tools (+ Whitening!)

In my post, The Quick and Dirty Guide on how to Clean Yourself Up, we reviewed a lot of issues that you can encounter when trying to shop more ethically. Sadly, there’s so much crap out there, both online and in stores, to worry about. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and psych yourself out from doing the research, or finally commit to a product in order to phase out the stuff you’re already using.

In the interest of making your life easier, I’ve been coming up with lists of (gender-agnostic) self-care products, in addition to home cleaning products, that you can trust are safe bets for both your health and the planet. You can find all of the 2019 Master Lists here.

In this post, we’re going to be covering dental hygiene tools, including toothbrushes, tongue scrapers, and teeth whitening solutions.

Author’s Note

This post is going to be unusually brief, since I’m not going to give you a huge array of different options for each of the product categories. Sometimes, having a lot of choices can be great, but in this case I figure it’s just easier if I just aggressively filter down all the options.

Product Picks

Given what we’ve just covered about biodegradable dental floss, the below products meet the following criteria:

  • cruelty-free: no animal testing has been done for the product to reach market and no animal derived ingredients are included if the harvesting process can cause harm to the animal (e.g., lanolin harvesting).
  • environmentally responsible: the ingredients listed on the label are of nonexistent or relatively low risk to the environment. This means that the harvesting processes for the products’ materials are more environmentally sustainable.
  • non-hazardous: the phrase “non-toxic” isn’t a regulated phrase, so we’re sticking with “non-hazardous” to keep a safe distance from meaningless marketing terminology. In this case, you should take “non-hazardous” to mean that the product, when used as intended (don’t drink it or bathe in it if the label doesn’t tell you to do so), poses overall less risk of experiencing negative side effects associated with exposure to various chemical compounds.
  • consistent results: the product delivers comparable results to conventional products, and works the way you want it to work significantly more often than it does not.

Author’s Note

As usual, this list isn’t sponsored in any way. The products listed below are products that come from brands with which I have experience (direct or indirect, through friends and family) or into which I personally have done extensive research.

Toothbrushes


It’s important to switch your toothbrush out for something environmentally responsible for two reasons:

  1. both the plastic that makes up the body of the brush and nylon bristles are made from petroleum. Petroleum is a non-renewable resource with major negative environmental consequences, which stems from how it’s harvested and how it’s refined. Consider, for example, that the creation of nylon results in nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Moreover, creating nylon is an energy and water intensive process that results in pollution runoff that can re-enter the water system.
  2. toothbrushes are also a form of single-use plastic: you use a toothbrush for a single period of time, after which you discard it. You never recycle it, and so the materials are never salvaged for re-purposing. Dental hygienists recommend that you change your toothbrush roughly every three to four months, which translates to three to four toothbrushes a year, per person. Assuming that everyone in the world follows the minimum guidelines of switching every four months, and assuming a conservative global population of 7.5 billion, we can assume that we’re dumping at least 22.5 billion toothbrushes into landfills per year. Of course, not everyone has access to toothbrushes, but you get the gist of the issue. That’s a metric sh*tton of plastic that won’t decompose, but will leech toxins into our groundwater over the course of several years. That’s no good.

Fortunately, there are better solutions. Most conventional plastic toothbrush alternatives now come in bamboo handles with nylon bristles, but you can also get biodegradable, plant-based plastic varieties.

GoWoo Bamboo Toothbrushes

+ no plastics in any of the packaging
+ nylon bristles are 66% plant-based

$12.89 for 4 brushes ($3.23/toothbrush)
$10.96 with 15% off through Amazon Subscribe & Save

Brush with Bamboo Toothbrushes

+ certified organic bamboo
+ nylon bristles are ~62% plant-based
uses (plant-based) plastic in packaging

TreeBird Bamboo Toothbrushes

+ no plastics in any of the packaging
uses conventional nylon bristles
+/- not vegan, comes with silk floss

Goodwell Co. Premium Toothbrush

+ no plastics in any of the packaging
+ toothbrush head is made from biodegradable materials
uses nylon bristles

Tongue Scrapers


If you’re not familiar with tongue scrapers, then here’s the quick-and-dirty: when you use them regularly, they’re supposed to help you clean the back of your tongue to combat bad breath. They’re unfortunately often uncomfortable to use no matter what format, since they induce the gag reflex, but they do offer a sort of extra level of satisfying cleanliness if you use them after you brush your teeth.

Dr Tung’s Tongue Scraper

comes in plastic packaging
+ one of the highest-rated tongue scrapers
uses plastic handles

Wowe Tongue Scrapers

+ no plastic packaging
+ uses only stainless steel

Teeth Whitening


Virtually all at-home teeth whitening solutions that reliably work (i.e., the ones that use hydrogen peroxide) come from companies that test on animals. Some readers may immediately object by mentioning a bunch of different charcoal-based products that have done wonders for them — if that’s the case, that’s great, but charcoal-based whitening products tend to be very hit-or-miss for people. Sometimes, people get lucky, but many people just as often see absolutely no results. Because of the inconsistency in results, I’m not going to include those options in the master list series. (If you want me to review a charcoal whitening product, let me know, and I can do another post on options in the future!)

Author’s Note

Since I’m a heavy tea drinker, I personally use the Dr. Brite Get Brite Whitening Pen when I need a touch-up on my teeth. I’ve found that a few applications lead to noticeable results that are pretty consistent with using whitening strips (less all the guilt about them not being cruelty-free), and I didn’t experience any crazy tooth sensitivity when I used the pen a couple of times in a row.

Dr. Brite Get Brite Whitening Pen

+ vegan and cruelty-free
+ gentle and effective hydrogen peroxide formula
comes in plastic packaging and container

$22.99 for 20-30 uses
$19.54 with 15% off through Amazon Subscribe & Save
(note: be sure to buy directly from Dr Brite when shopping on Amazon!)

Dr. Brite Stay Brite Whitening Pen

+ vegan and cruelty-free
+ gentle and effective hydrogen peroxide formula
comes in plastic packaging and container

$22.99 for 20-30 uses
$19.54 with 15% off through Amazon Subscribe & Save
(note: be sure to buy directly from Dr Brite when shopping on Amazon!)

Dr. Brite Stain B-Gone Whitening Pen (Coffee)

+ vegan and cruelty-free
+ extra strength hydrogen peroxide formula
comes in plastic packaging and container

$29.99 for 30-40 uses
$26.99 with Dr. Brite’s Subscribe & Save

Dr. Brite Stain B-Gone Whitening Pen (Wine)

+ vegan and cruelty-free
+ extra strength hydrogen peroxide formula
comes in plastic packaging and container

$29.99 for 30-40 uses
$26.99 with Dr. Brite’s Subscribe & Save

That’s all for now! If you think I missed any tools or dental hygiene products, let me know in the comments below.

Until next time!

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