Photo by ETEVYS
Three simple ways to green your child's toothbrushing routine.
1. Turn off the water!
Running it the entire time your child brushes his teeth is a waste, and completely unnecessary -- toothpaste doesn't need to be wet to work. Turn the faucet on only at the end of the brushing session so your child can rinse. (This goes for you, too, mom.) According to the EPA, you can save up to 8 gallons of water a day by simply turning off the tap when you brush your teeth in the morning and at night.
2. Choose a better toothpaste.
Many conventional ones contain artificial dyes, flavors, sparkles, fragrances, and harsh chemicals. And while the American Dental Association approves of it, many studies show that too much fluoride may pose serious health risks.
If you prefer fluoride-free (the most eco-friendly choice), try: Dr. Sharp Strawberry Cream Kids Toothpaste -- it's vegan and contains organic ingredients; plus it's free of parabens, sulfates, $11.95 at Dr Fluoride Free; Weleda Children's Tooth Gel is biodynamic, free of artificial fragrances, preservatives, and sulfates, $5.25 at Saffron Rouge; Burt's Bees Natural Toothpaste Without Fluoride is safe for kids to swallow; it's free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners, $5 at Burt's Bees.
If you like fluoride, try: The Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper Anticavity Gel Toothpaste, which is free of artificial ingredients, alcohol, artificial dyes, sweeteners, preservatives, and sodium lauryl sulfate (a harsh cleansing detergent), $6.19 at Drugstore.com; Toms of Maine Children's Anticavity with Fluoride, $2.95 at Toms of Maine. Note: According to the American Dental Association, children under two should not use fluoride; for older toddlers, supervise them when they brush and teach them to spit not swallow.
3. Use an eco-friendly toothbrush.
Lots of Plastic Toothbrushes + Landfill = Bad. Very, very bad.
Try: Preserve Jr. toothbrushes are made from recycled plastic. When it's time for a replacement, return it to Recycline (they'll pay the postage) and they'll grind it up to make material for recycled plastic lumber. $2.33 at Lucky Vitamin; Eco-Dent Replaceable Head Toothbrush--cuts down on waste because you don't have to toss the whole brush, just replace the head; the reusable head contains 95% less plastic than a regular toothbrush, $4.45 at Reusable Bags.
Are you trying to teach your child eco-friendly brushing habits?