How Green Is Your Toothbrush?

See Entire June 11, 2010 Newsletter

On toothbrushes (and I hope yours is NOT green) – I am not phobic about most things but the entire millions of germs on the toothbrush discussion kind of freaks me out. After all, you put it in your mouth, rinse and store. Here’s what Dr. Andrew Weil has to say about care of your toothbrush:

1. Rinse the brush thoroughly after use and let it dry in an upright position.
2. If you keep your brush in the same holder as others in your family, make sure the bristles don’t touch each other.
3. Don’t share toothbrushes.
4. Keep your toothbrush in a location well away from the toilet – flushing can allow bacteria to travel from the bowl to your brush.
5. Never store your toothbrush in a closed container – bacteria are more likely to multiply in a warm, humid, closed environment.
6. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if you notice that it looks worn (look for bristles that are splayed or bent out of shape).
 
If you’re like Mrs. Green, you may be concerned about tossing your toothbrush in the landfill every three to four months. Try these alternatives: soak your toothbrush in vinegar overnight, or in my old favorite, hydrogen peroxide. You can clean your tooth brushes in eco-friendly, non-toxic ways, recycle them properly, and make a conscientious choice when replacing them. There is a company called Preserve that makes toothbrushes from recycled plastic. Mrs. Green is publicly committing to checking them out. Hold me to it!!!

On anti-bacterial soaps – if you haven’t already, please get rid of them! Numerous environmental working groups, the American Medical Association and various organizations in Europe all agree on this topic. The culprit in this case is a toxic pesticide called triclosan that is actually powerful enough to threaten children’s health and pollute breast milk. It has been linked to cancer in lab animals, has been targeted for removal from some stores in Europe and is recommended AGAINST use at home by the American Medical Association.

The update? Quote from a recent scientific study: “A germ-killing agent called triclosan, found in three-quarters of liquid soaps, can combine with chlorine in water to create potentially dangerous chemicals, researchers say.” Is YOUR hand soap creating toxins in our water supply? Mine is not.