8 Best Plastic-Free Dental Floss for a Sustainable Smile

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I recently endured my annual trip to the oral hygienist (I know I should probably go twice a year…but I have an oversensitive gag reflex and dislike my trips to the dentist and hygienist immensely).

The verdict was the same as always. I'm doing a decent job, but I need to floss more often.

I was then offered an array of overpriced floss options, all containing plastic.

I politely declined. But it got me thinking:

  1. What are the best plastic-free dental floss options in the U.S.?
  2. Why do oral hygienists insist on making small talk when your mouth is wide open and you have a suction tube halfway toward your throat?

I really have no clue about #2…but read on for answers to #1.

The Best Four Non-Vegan Eco-Friendly Dental Floss

Eco-Credentials

100% Biodegradable
Soy-Based Inks
Mulberry Silk
Comes in 100% biodegradable corn starch baggies

They Say: Team etee is big on keeping their chompers and the houses that they live in (ie their gums) healthy, so having a plastic-free floss option was a no-brainer over in these parts. Completely biodegradable & plastic-free floss to keep your entire family's teeth healthy! Each spool contains 30 meters of our 100% pure mulberry silk, candelilla wax, and natural peppermint oil floss.

We Say: My first recommendation will not surprise those who’ve been reading TheRoundup for a while.

Etee is one of my favorite zero-waste stores. I’ve recommended them for toothpaste, dish soap, shampoo, and bamboo toothbrush heads in previous articles.

This is also my eco-friendly dental floss of choice. I use it every night to get the food from between my teeth before bed.

It’s strong enough not to snap and slides effortlessly between my teeth.

The taste of the peppermint oil is pleasantly refreshing without being overpowering.

When you first purchase this eco-friendly dental floss, you get two spools of floss in your choice of reusable container (glass or stainless steel) with a cutter lid. I went for the stainless steel option because it won’t smash if dropped from slippy wet hands.

You can then keep the container and just order refills when you run out. Saving waste and a few bucks.

Free shipping is available on all U.S. orders over $60, and there is a refill subscription option that will save you an additional 10%.

Etee’s plastic-free commitment doesn’t stop at the floss package. All shipping packaging is also plastic-free and recyclable or compostable.

Eco-Credentials

USDA Organic
Renewable Energy
Recycled and Recyclable Packaging

They Say: The Green Tea Jasmine Silk Floss from RADIUS contains no BPA, phthalates, parabens, and added chemicals. Packaged in 100% plastic-free packaging, this silk floss is coated with natural organic carnauba wax for a smooth glide, plus added coconut oil and erythritol to help prevent cavities and remove plaque. It's Certified USDA Certified Organic to ensure you're getting the highest-quality oral care available.

We Say: This is exactly why EarthHero is another of my favorite zero-waste stores. They offer consumers the chance to buy awesome eco-friendly products at great prices.

Thirty meters of USDA Certified Organic eco-friendly dental floss for under four bucks! AMAZING!

The green tea scent/taste is almost imperceivable, but it does leave a gentle aftertaste.

RADIUS is committed to using renewable energy sources for some or all of the production processes of their products.

Throw into the mix that the natural silk used for this floss is spun by hand by CORSEDA fair trade co-op in the mountains of Columbia, and you have yourself one seriously eco-friendly dental floss.

You can watch more about how the RADIUS silk is made here.

RADIUS floss lives in recyclable cardboard packaging, and EarthHero ships it to you in recycled and recyclable packaging.

Free shipping is available on all U.S. orders over $60.

Eco-Credentials

USDA Organic
Renewable Energy
Recycled and Recyclable Packaging

They Say: Before nylon and plastic took over our bathroom counters, floss was made simply, utilizing silk thread. RADIUS returns to our roots with their Natural Silk Floss, free from toxins, flavoring, and all other harmful additives.

We Say: This eco-friendly dental floss is precisely the same as the previous RADIUS option, just with zero added flavoring.

It’s the perfect eco-friendly dental floss for those who want a combination of certified organic and unflavored.

Eco-Credentials

100% Plastic-Free
FDA Certified

They Say: This slightly minty floss is made from 100% natural mulberry silk and is coated in a natural plant-based candelilla wax making it completely biodegradable. The berry blue-colored container is made from glass with a metal cap that is removable so that you can refill the bottle over and over. You can use the same bottle for the rest of your life if you take care of it - just think about how many plastic floss containers will be avoided.

We Say: The zero-waste store powerhouses just keep on coming in this article. Next, it’s the turn of LifeWithoutPlastic.

As the name suggests, LifeWithoutPlastic is on a mission to help us all cut plastic from our lives. This daunting task can quickly become overwhelming, so it’s best tackled with lots of small swaps.

One small swap to get you started is ditching your plastic dental floss for this FDA-certified eco-friendly dental floss.

Thanks to the candelilla wax coating, it’s strong and sturdy enough to get between even my tightest teeth gaps.

The mint flavor of this eco-friendly floss is so subtle that it’s bordering on non-existent. I could not taste it. However, that's not a massive negative in my book as I don't like overpowering tastes and smells with my healthcare products.

The Best Four Vegan Eco-Friendly Dental Floss

Eco-Credentials

Cruelty-Free
Bamboo
Zero-Waste

They Say: This vegan floss comes packaged in a refillable glass container with a recyclable metal dispensing lid. The floss is made from bamboo fiber with activated charcoal. Say goodbye to plastic by including this zero waste floss in your daily oral hygiene routine. 100% zero waste, all packaging materials are non-plastic and are either recyclable or compostable.

We Say: EcoRoots is another zero-waste store that I’m mildly obsessed about. I’ve used/recommended them for a bunch of stuff in the past, such as shave soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, toothbrushes, and dish soap.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched them grow from an eco-friendly store selling many well-known and artisan products to slowly adding their own brand products to the lineup.

This zero-waste, eco-friendly floss is another ‘own brand’ triumph for EcoRoots.

It did a great job getting the food out from between my teeth. The tea tree/peppermint oil combo gives off a subtle fresh smell, and I like the potential extra cleaning power provided by the activated charcoal.

I was disappointed that only one 30m spool of floss came with the initial order.

Refills are better value if you already have a reusable container you can use. You can also save an additional 10% by subscribing to regular deliveries.

Free shipping is available on all U.S. orders over $45.

Eco-Credentials

Cruelty-Free
Zero-Waste

They Say: EcoRoots zero waste floss is a great environmentally-conscious alternative to conventional plastic floss. Our eco-friendly floss is made from compostable corn, naturally coated with plant-based candelilla wax and a hint of organic mint & tea tree essential oils. This vegan & biodegradable floss glides comfortably between the teeth and is gentle on your gums.

We Say: This eco-friendly floss is an excellent alternative for vegans who liked the sound of the EcoRoots floss above but are not keen on activated charcoal.

This version is made from corn rather than bamboo but is still coated with candelilla wax to help the floss effortlessly slide between your teeth.

Both vegan floss offerings from EcoRoots performed faultlessly, though, so it mainly comes down to whether or not you want activated charcoal in your daily oral care routine.

Again, the initial 30m feels a little short for ten bucks, and the refills are much better value for money.

Free shipping is available on all U.S. orders over $45.

Eco-Credentials

Carbon Offset
Zero-Waste

They Say: Regular dental floss is just waxed nylon, rolled up in a small plastic box. Just like plastic, nylon is derived from crude oil. Unlike plastic, it does not take 500 to thousands of years to decompose, but “only” 50 – 80 years. Our two most popular and vegan versions are made from Corn and bamboo. Both are biodegradable and chemical-free, making them great alternatives to nylon products.

We Say: I couldn't do an eco-friendly floss test without checking out what Etsy’s army of artisan suppliers and producers were up to.

It turns out quite a lot…as my Etsy search for ‘eco-friendly floss’ returned close to 1,500 results! Although, many of those results were standard threads used for sewing, etc.

After much scrolling (eco-shopping is my social media! 😁), I narrowed my Etsy test down to three:

It was a close-run thing. All three did a great job. All three are vegan and biodegradable. All three are shipped carbon neutral, thanks to Etsy buying offset credits.

My favorite, by a hair, was the SmileBoutiques Zero Waste Biodegradable Dental Floss. This was mainly because I was impressed that they give you a choice of three eco-friendly threads (charcoal bamboo, white bamboo, corn fiber).

SmileBoutiques also offer free shipping on all U.S. orders over $35.

Eco-Credentials

Carbon Offset
Zero-Waste

They Say: Kick that plastic floss dispenser to the curb and make the switch to sustainable dental care with this Vegan Compostable Floss from Georganics! Made from compostable corn-based PLA with vegetable waxes and essential oils, this plastic-free floss promotes fresh breath and healthy teeth and gums. With a certified cruelty-free formula, plus plastic-free packaging, this floss is the perfect addition to your natural oral care routine.

We Say: Geoganics is an oral hygiene brand I’ve got a lot of time for. I love what they stand for and the products they produce.

In the past, I’ve used/recommended their mouthwash and toothpaste. So, I was also keen to put their eco-friendly floss through its paces.

Then I noticed that they did orange-flavored floss, and my excitement levels went through the roof. Yep…I’m THAT lame!

My lameness to one side, this floss was everything I’d hoped it would be. Thin enough to get through all my gaps but strong enough to not snap or shred. And the orange flavor was subtle, citrusy, and refreshing.

If orange is not your thing (are you mad?!), activated charcoal or spearmint zero-waste dental floss is also available.

One potential downside of this product is that some customer reviews said it breaks easily. However, that was not my experience, so maybe they just got a bad batch, or the product has been strengthened since then.

Free shipping is available on all U.S. orders over $60.

Three Eco-Friendly(ish) Alternatives To Floss

Mrs. M is well aware of the benefits of flossing (I can get a bit preachy at home when researching articles! 😊) but struggles to get on with floss.

She can’t get the pressure level right, and she finds it hurts her fingers and makes her gums bleed.

So, I was also tasked with finding good eco-friendly alternatives to floss.

Eco-Credentials

Battery-Free
Long-Lasting

They Say: The Waterpik Aquarius water flosser is the easy and most effective way to floss, removing up to 99.9 percent of plaque from treated areas, and is up to 50 percent more effective than floss for improving gum health; Perfect for braces, implants, and other dental work. Waterpik is clinically proven and the first water flosser brand to earn the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.

We Say: I debated whether or not to include a plastic electric device for some time. It made the cut for the following reasons:

  • No Batteries: I went for a corded water flosser to avoid the environmental impact of batteries.
  • One Unit Per Family: This water flosser comes with multiple tips and can be used by the whole family. Saving cost and environmental impact.
  • Well Made: There are cheaper water flossers available. However, the ADA Accepted Waterpik Aquarius is built to last. It comes with a three-year warranty, but with proper use/care, it should last you much longer than that.

The flossing power of this unit is incredible. It removes up to 99.90% percent of plaque and is 50% percent more effective for improving gum health when compared to string floss.

I feel you could easily get ten years' worth of use out of this unit. That’s a lot of saved cost and environmental impact compared to traditional floss. Especially if it's being used by multiple family members.

Just be sure to dispose of this product as responsibly as possible when it reaches the end of its usable life.

Eco-Credentials

Climate Pledge Friendly
Sustainable Bamboo
Reusable

They Say: Removes plaque between teeth. Fights cavities and the gum disease gingivitis in hard-to-reach places (areas regular brushing may miss). Deep cleaning bristles to remove food between your teeth. Natural bamboo handles and Kraft paper packaging help reduce plastic, do your part to save the earth. Preserve and protect your natural teeth for a lifetime with our innovative interdental brush.

We Say: Interdental brushes are great for getting plaque from between teeth for people who don't like using floss. However, one downside is that they’re usually too wide to fit between tight teeth gaps.

The world of interdental brushes is riddled with plastic handles and nylon brushes. Finding a decent eco-friendly option was challenging, but these Isshah brushes get very close.

Yes, they have nylon bristles. But, the handle is bamboo (super sustainable), they come in kraft paper packaging (recyclable), and are reusable (just make sure you rinse them well after use).

Eco-Credentials

Climate Pledge Friendly
USDA Organic

They Say: Certified by dentists in the U.S., these floss picks were tested to ensure they'd remove food from the tightest of gaps, without breaking or shredding. They feature the thinnest thread possible for floss picks and a toothpick end for those hard-to-reach places. Replace Your Plastic Picks Today!

We Say: Finding a floss pick that’s both plastic and nylon free AND performs well was an impossible task.

These floss picks from SMARTLIFECO were the best I tested, but they contain nylon. Nylon-4, to be precise. This is a biodegradable version of nylon but is still made using petroleum.

If you’re looking for single-use picks and you’re happy to overlook the nylon content, then this is a good option for you.

The pick handle is entirely plastic-free (made from USDA Organic straw wheat), and the entire product is Climate Pledge Friendly.

This product may not be perfect, but it's still way better than traditional floss picks made from plastic.

Our journey to leading a more eco-friendly life is not always about being perfect. Sometimes we have to make compromises. A small step towards sustainability is better than no step at all!

Why Traditional Dental Floss Sucks

Most traditional dental floss comes in single-use plastic containers. Some are recyclable. Most aren’t. This adds to the growing global problem of plastic waste.

Then we have the floss itself. Usually made from nylon, it’s not recyclable and can take hundreds of years to decompose. So waste dental floss ends up in landfill or, worse still, being flushed and finding its way into rivers and oceans, where it damages marine life by being ingested or getting tangled.

Flushed waste dental floss can also tangle with other products (such as baby wipes and diapers) and cause blockages.

It’s not just the environment that can be impacted. Many traditional dental floss brands coat their product with PFAS.

PFAS have been linked to numerous health issues, including:

  • Altered metabolism
  • Reduced fertility
  • Reduced fetal growth
  • Increased risk of being overweight or obese
  • Reduced ability of the immune system to fight infections

Say No To Nylon

Ditch the nylon floss and switch to more eco-friendly alternatives, such as:

  • Linen thread
  • Silk thread
  • Bamboo thread
  • Corn thread

And ditch the chemicals coatings for non-toxic alternatives, such as:

  • Beeswax
  • Candelilla wax (a plant-based, vegan alternative to beeswax)

What To Look For In The Best Eco-Friendly Dental Floss

There are three things to look out for:

  1. Your eco-friendly dental floss should be biodegradable or compostable
  2. Your eco-friendly dental floss should be non-toxic
  3. Your eco-friendly dental floss should come in reusable or recyclable plastic-free packaging

Every floss mentioned in this article meets these criteria.

Why Flossing Correctly Is Important

According to Mayo Clinic, eight conditions can be linked to oral health:

  1. Endocarditis
  2. Cardiovascular disease
  3. Pregnancy and birth complications
  4. Pneumonia
  5. Diabetes
  6. HIV/AIDS
  7. Osteoporosis
  8. Alzheimer's disease

Flossing helps remove plaque and bacteria between your teeth (and other areas where your toothbrush can’t reach).

To keep your oral health in tip-top condition, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you brush your teeth twice a day AND floss once a day.

They’ve made a video to help you perfect your flossing technique.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Eco-Dent Floss Made Of?

Ecodent floss is 100% vegan and comes in recyclable packaging. However, I chose not to review it because it’s made from nylon and so not plastic-free.

What Is Mulberry Silk?

Mulberry silk comes from silkworms of the Bombyx mori moth that live and feed exclusively on mulberry trees (Morus alba).

Is Traditional Dental Floss Vegan?

Traditional dental floss is made from nylon, which is vegan. However, it's often coated with beeswax, which is not vegan.

How Long Does It Take For Dental Floss To Decompose?

Plastic dental floss can take over a thousand years to decompose and leak all sorts of nasties into the earth. Nylon floss takes between 50 and 80 years.

Eco-friendly dental floss (made from plant-based fibers, etc.) usually naturally biodegrades (leaving nothing nasty behind) in just a few years and often even quicker.

Is BPA-Free Nylon Biodegradable?

BPA-free nylon is free of BPA but not biodegradable (unless it’s nylon-4).

The Final Word

So, there you have, my take on the ever-growing world of eco-friendly dental floss.

Vegan or non-vegan, I covered plenty of options to arm you with the information you need to make the right decision for you.

I feel that choosing the right eco-friendly dental floss is a very personal decision. Our mouths are all very different, and what you’re looking for in a floss might not be what I’m looking for in a floss.

However, you can be sure as eggs are eggs that every floss I’ve covered in this article is plastic-free, biodegradable, and super sustainable.

Get In Touch

Where do you buy your eco-friendly floss? What’s your favorite brand? Have I missed someone making the best eco-friendly dental floss in the U.S.? Drop me a line and let me know.

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James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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