Say goodbye to plastic waste and hello to a fresh perspective on oral care. Discover the hidden environmental impact of your oral care routine and the urgent need for sustainable alternatives. Dive into the world of embi Optimal Oral Care, a brand committed to integrating nature into the industry with zero plastic products.

How Ocean-friendly Oral Care Benefits Us and the Planet

The global oral care industry is a significant contributor to the global plastic waste problem, with single-use plastics being a major culprit. Toothbrushes, floss picks, and packaging are among the most prominent offenders. Each year, billions of plastic toothbrushes are disposed of worldwide, contributing to the approximately 23 billion plastic toothbrushes¹ that will end up in landfills and oceans by 2025. These toothbrushes are typically made from polypropylene and nylon, materials that can take up to 500 years to decompose. 

Floss picks add to this environmental burden. These convenient but wasteful tools combine plastic handles with nylon floss, making them difficult to recycle. With millions of floss picks discarded daily, they contribute significantly to the growing plastic pollution problem. 

Packaging is another major issue in the oral care industry. Most toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss picks are sold in plastic blister packs or boxes that are designed for single use. These packages are often composed of multiple types of plastic and other materials, making them non-recyclable and destined for landfills or incineration. This creates a substantial environmental impact that exacerbates the already critical issue of plastic pollution. The prevalence of single-use plastics in oral care highlights the urgent need for sustainable alternatives.

Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their choices and are demanding environmentally responsible products. 

The transition away from single-use plastics is a necessary change to address the global plastic crisis. It requires a collective effort from manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to embrace sustainable practices and products that minimize environmental impact and promote long-term ecological health. 

Australian brand, embi OOC, has been in research and testing for almost 2 years and is now selling its range of sustainable zero plastic products online and more recently in retail stores like Chemist Warehouse. The brand is openly committed to challenging the category. 

“We are a company committed to sustainable solutions for your oral health routine. Our premium tongue scrapers, zero plastic toothbrushes, and floss picks are designed to help you rethink your approach to oral hygiene, one eco-friendly product at a time. And it’s not just about going green—it’s about balancing your oral microbiome for optimal health. By ridding the mouth of accumulated bad bacteria using a high quality tongue scraper you start a process that assists balancing your oral micro biome. The benefits are instant and long term. These are essential steps towards fresher breath, fighting tooth decay, and preventing gum disease.”

~ Michael Blumberg, Co-Founder of embi OOC

Oral Health Meets Environmental Responsibility

Unexpected Health Impacts: Oral care doesn’t just affect our teeth and gums; it can have far-reaching consequences for our overall health. Research has shown links between poor oral health and conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections. By maintaining good oral hygiene with products like embi Oral Optimal Care’s biome-balancing toothpaste and tongue scrapers, which are specifically designed to promote a balanced oral microbiome, we can potentially reduce the risk of these systemic health issues and promote overall well-being. 

Overlooked Practices for Optimal Oral Care: One of the most underrated practices for oral health is tongue scraping. While brushing and flossing are commonly emphasized, embi OOC’s premium tongue scrapers play a crucial role in removing bacteria and toxins from the tongue’s surface, improving breath freshness, and supporting a balanced oral microbiome. Additionally, our zero plastic toothbrushes and floss picks provide alternatives to traditional oral care tools, ensuring a comprehensive and sustainable approach to oral hygiene. 

Start each day with a fresh, clean mouth and boost your overall health. Optimize your oral hygiene routine with tongue scraping—this simple practice helps remove bacteria, reduce bad breath, and enhance your taste buds.

Integration of Brand Ethos with Environmental Ethics: The brand ethos of ember OOC integrates sustainability into all aspects of product development, from sourcing eco-friendly materials like bamboo and biodegradable fibers to minimizing packaging waste through innovative design. Prioritizing environmental responsibility in products like their zero plastic toothbrushes and floss picks, establishes the brands core values and helps to inspire consumers to make conscious choices that benefit both their oral health and the planet. 

Value of Integrating Nature into Oral Care: Integrating nature into oral care products, such as incorporating medicinal botanicals like tea tree oil and neem into embi OOC’s biome-balancing toothpaste, adds significant value beyond conventional formulations. These natural ingredients possess antibacterial properties that can help combat oral pathogens and promote gum health, enhancing the therapeutic benefits of our products. Similarly, ensuring water purity in oral care formulations contributes to overall product safety and effectiveness.

How Ocean-friendly is your Oral Care Routine?

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Further Reading

The following references should provide a solid foundation for understanding the issues of plastic waste, the impact of oral care products, and sustainability practices in consumer goods.

¹ The American Dental Association suggests that everyone replace their toothbrushes every three or four months. At that rate, brushers in the U.S. alone would go through over one billion toothbrushes each year. And if everyone around the world followed those recommendations, about 23 billion toothbrushes would get trashed annually. Source: Alejandra Borunda (2019). “How your toothbrush became a part of the plastic crisis.” National Geographic, Planet or Plastic.

Since 2014, IUCN has been addressing the impact of plastics globally, with a focus on the marine environment. This brief covers the impact of plastic pollution on marine environments, establishing grounds for the future Plastics Treaty.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Issues Brief (April 2024) Marine Plastic Pollution.

This study provides a comprehensive overview of the global production, use, and disposal of plastics. It estimates that 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced, with a significant portion ending up in landfills or the natural environment.

Geyer, R., Jambeck, J. R., & Law, K. L. (2017). “Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made.” Science Advances, 3(7), e1700782. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700782.

This paper discusses the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean every year. The authors estimate that around 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the oceans annually.

Jambeck, J. R., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T. R., Perryman, M., Andrady, A., … & Law, K. L. (2015). “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean.” Science, 347(6223), 768-771. DOI: 10.1126/science.1260352.

This article compares the ecological impact (Total lifetime carbon footprint and single use plastics (SUP) waste generation) derived from the provision of professional oral healthcare (Dentists and hygienist).

Nicolas Martin, Abigail Hunter, Zoe Constantine, Steven Mulligan (2024). “The environmental consequences of oral healthcare provision by the dental team.” Journal of Dentistry, Vol 142. DOI: 10.1016/j.jdent.2024.104842.

Inga Yandell
Explorer and media producer, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide resources and opportunities for creative exploration.