I’m not a big fan of flossing. I tried it ages ago, with the standard synthetic peppermint flavoured floss and I just found it quite a hassle for not very much reward. Also I frequently cut my gums, so I just gave up eventually. However, since switching to homemade toothpaste that doesn’t contain fluoride, isn’t intensely mint flavoured and doesn’t foam, I’ve become much more precise and methodical about brushing my teeth because I can’t just rely on chemicals to nuke the plaque and bacteria in my mouth. I also decided to take up flossing again, because I’m an adult now and “I just don’t like it” feels like a weak excuse when it comes to health and hygiene.
Regular dental floss is made from thin synthetic filaments usually coated in some type of antibacterial agent and sometimes waxed to keep it from fraying and make it smoother between your teeth. However, the filaments are a form of plastic and most floss also comes in a plastic container — that’s a lot of plastic for something so small!
So I wanted to give flossing a second chance and I wanted to make it low waste and plastic free. So I picked up a box of Senzabamboo natural silk floss.
The manufacturers facts:
- The floss and packaging are 100% plastic free (silk is a natural and biodegradable material, the box is cardboard and the inner bag is plant-based .)
- The floss itself is coated with tea tree oil which has natural antibacterial properties.
- Each box contains 30 m (33 yd) of floss.
- Flossing may help prevent gum-disease, and the natural oils contribute to gum health.
- The floss uses candellila wax, so is vegan friendly.
- Totally plastic free. The only thing that can’t be composted is the tiny metal cutter, which is probably 1 mm squared in size.
- The floss has no flavour or odour, which I like because I find ‘dental hygiene’ flavour very overwhelming since I switched to homemade toothpaste.
- My gums definitely look a little healthier since I started using the floss (they were never unhealthy, but sometimes plaque build up can cause slight inflammation)
- Even though I have cut my gums once or twice, the natural fibres are less ‘sharp’ than synthetic ones so it hasn’t been as painful and has healed faster.
- The floss gets stuck between my molars and often breaks, leaving small fibres behind which I have to try to work loose with a toothpick or my toothbrush.
- It is a lot more expensive than standard store-bought floss, which also usually come in 50 m rolls.
If you have the money and enjoy flossing (you weirdo), then I would recommend going for this low waste alternative to conventional floss. However, if you don’t have perfect, evenly spaced teeth, it can be a bit of a hassle to deal with! The strongest plus for me is that it’s pretty much all biodegradable, and flossing has been proven to improve over all dental health by reducing plaque build up. The higher cost is somewhat mitigated by the fact that it has lasted over a month with two people using it, so you’d be looking at close to two months for a single person. However, the fragileness (not a word) of this floss is the most frustrating element for me. I’ll keep using this product until I see a different plastic free brand, but if I do find an alternative I will definitely give that one a try rather than buying another box of the Senzabamboo floss.
Where is it available?
I’ve only found one place that stocks this in-store, so if you live outside of the KZN Upper Highway area, you’re looking at buying this online:
Good Source: R93.00 (in-store)
Fresh Earth: R86.60 (online)
Faithful to Nature: R89.00 (online)
*Special note: Shop Zero came up as a hit when I search for Senzabamboo silk floss online, but once I followed the link it said the page couldn’t be found. This might mean they stock the product irregularly, or that they don’t stock it any more.