As I’ve talked about ad nauseum on this platform, I’m actively trying to find ways to green all elements of my life – and use significantly less plastic! My friend Krystal was kind enough to tell me about the company I’m featuring today, Bite! If this is the first post you’re reading about finding ways to green my home and wellness routines, also check out these posts:
How to Recycle your Oral Care Products
Oral care products are notoriously confusing / difficult to recycle. Toothbrushes are made of different components (plastic, bristles and sometimes aluminum staples that hold the bristles inside the brush handle) and as far as toothpaste goes, plastic needs to be clean and empty to be recycled – toothpaste tubes are not exactly designed for easy cleaning to guarantee successful recycling. There are a few ways to successfully recycle oral care products:
- Terra Cycle has a mail-in recycling program with Colgate where you can ship any brand of toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes and empty floss containers back to them for appropriate recycling. You can sign up on the waiting list for that program here. They do not accept electric toothbrush components.
- Preserve has their Toothbrush Takeback program for their toothbrushes (not just any brand) where you can mail in six used toothbrushes for a coupon for $6 off new toothbrushes or any item in their store. They then recycle the used brushes (not the bristles). The brush handles are made from recycled yogurt cups and the bristles are new nylon. The toothbrushes are pretty affordable – about $3/piece, so for every six you return, you’re getting close to the value of two new brushes in a coupon.
Buying Oral Care Products that Generate Less Waste
As has been the recurring theme of my earlier posts, I’m trying to find beauty and wellness swaps that don’t generate the waste that needs to be managed in the first place. Enter… Bite!
Bite sells a number of oral care products: toothpaste tablets, mouthwash tablets, compostable dental lace and bamboo toothbrushes. I tried (in my first order) their dental lace and mouthwash tablets. Bite toothpaste bits come in three flavors (mint, charcoal mint and a kids-oriented berry flavor) and replaces your standard toothpaste tube. Each bit is about the size of a TicTac. You bite down on one tab and then brush your teeth as normal. The tab dissolves into a sort of frothy paste that acts like toothpaste. Bite down + brush + spit as normal.
Your initial order ships in a glass jar. Refill packs of bits come in compostable packaging you can dispose of in a backyard compost system.
Their dental lace (not floss!) is also compostable, and comes in a glass jar that is also reusable. Refills are simply placed in the jar.
I have not yet tried their mouthwash or toothbrushes. The mouthwash is a similar refill concept to the toothpaste. Their toothbrushes can be fully composted once you remove the aluminum staples – the handle and bristles can go in your home compost.
How Do these Products Perform?
The bits took some getting used to – they don’t have the same explosively minty taste I’m used to with toothpaste. But now that I’ve been using them for about a month, I’m very much used to them. I feel like my teeth seem just as clean as they were using my other toothpaste. I typically use a sensitive toothpaste and haven’t experienced any sensitivity issues with the bits.
The dental lace took a bit more of adjusting to. I don’t find it as easy to use (it’s a bit more slippery?) and it is definitely thicker than regular dental floss. I found that my gums bled a bit more the first two weeks of using, but I think now that I’ve adjusted it’s not painful to use and my gums don’t bleed any longer. Definitely still a bit trickier than using the nylon floss that is traditionally sold. I love that the dental floss can just be tossed in my compost bin after I use it!
I currently use an electric toothbrush with disposable heads and wanted to use up my inventory of heads before getting a different toothbrush. I’d like to explore their mouthwash and their toothbrushes when I get my next subscription refill in January!
How Do they Compare Price-Wise?
These products are more expensive than toothpaste. Significantly so. I got a 248 bit jar (enough for 124 days of twice daily toothbrushing for one person – 4 months) and it was $30, or $7.50 per month with an every-4-month refill subscription. I got two floss containers, too – a 4-month supply. These are $5 each for refills. I floss once daily, for use purposes.
Toothpaste Bits: $30 for 4-month supply ($7.50/month)
Floss: $5 per refill or $10 every 4 months ($2.50/month)
Mouthwash: $20 for 4-month supply ($5/month)
Toothbrushes: $5 each – 1 for every 4 months.
I looked at my current dental products and their price points to compare:
Sensodyne PROnamel Toothpaste: $10.79 for 4-month supply (36% the cost of Bite)
Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Floss: $5.79 for 4-month supply (57% the cost of Bite)
Hello Naturally Fresh Mouthwash: $4.99/ bottle or $11 for 4-month supply (55% the cost of Bite)
Daily Clean Electric Toothbrush Heads: $14.99 for 3 heads (12-month supply) (Same price as Bite)
This is a cost hike for me to make this switch, but if it means that I’m able to not generate plastic-waste, I’m on board!