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I’ve made so many simple swaps over the years to be a little more kind to the planet that I hardly think about them now. They’re so ingrained in my day-to-day life, and I’d love for more people to feel the same way (namely, that it's so easy!). 

Please note: This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways I try to save the planet or ways you can save the planet. These are not all the answers, but a starting point. I’ve tagged some products in this post, but I know it’s better to shop locally instead of sourcing all over the internet (so do that if possible!). Also, I love recycling, but I also try hard not to use single-use plastics and add to the problem of where it all goes.

The List

  1. Use reusable bags, folks. Any old tote will do! I also bought a few produce bags a few years back that are lightweight and breathable.
  2. Bring your own water bottle or cup. This is so easy! I have a Corkcicle and a S’well water bottle. Each keep things hot or cold. There’s no need for takeaway coffee cups any longer (also, did you know that most to go coffee cups aren’t recyclable?)!
  3. Use cloth napkins. I just picked up some mustard-colored ones from a local recycled art supply store for next to nothing, that I’ll get years of use from. When they eventually start to fray, I’ll turn them into rags for cleaning.
  4. Dryer balls. My dog thinks these are for him, but they’re mostly for us humans in the house. They reduce static, help clothes dry faster, and don’t contain chemicals. You can add your own scent to them, too, and they’re under $10.
  5. Consider the restaurants you dine out from. Do they offer sustainable to go options? Will they force a million tiny sauce packets on you? Will they put everything in a plastic bag?
  6. Refuse a straw. This one is tough, even though there’s so much info out there about it! Anytime I’m dining out, I ask for no straw in my water. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t (because habits are hard to break!). We can only do so much with what we have, but asking for no straw whenever you can is another way to do a little something for those sea turtles.
  7. Meal plan. Buy only what you are going to use and then use it! If my refrigerator looks barren at the end of the week, I feel victorious! Taking a bit of time to plan what you will actually eat saves food as well as money. Seriously.
  8. Don’t use disposable kitchen items! It’s been years since I’ve used aluminum foil, cling wrap, or resealable bags. I seal food in glassware or wrap in a napkin, and I’m doing just fine.
  9. Invest in clothing that will last a lifetime or thrift. I personally love the thrill of thrifting and giving old clothes a second chance, but investing in a well-made piece is another good option when shopping for new clothes.
  10. Recycle and or compost! I do both, and hardly ever take out the trash. Here in Detroit, we’re lucky to have a grassroots compost company who picks up compost weekly, so I don’t have to have a green thumb (or love of worms!) to live more environmentally. I have a big bowl in my freezer where any scraps are tossed for the week, then I pull them out on compost pick up day. My house doesn’t smell and I’m still saving the world, one onion end at a time. But before I found this service, I took my food scraps to my dad's garden. I'm not a gardener, but for years now, I've managed to find a way to compost my food scraps. I feel confident a few of you can, too.

This list is simply something to think about, and maybe a place to start. Have you made small but impactful changes to reduce your footprint? Do you, too, struggle with refusing a straw?

written by Samantha Tillapaugh from The Debtist

We all know that brushing our teeth is essential to having a wonderful smile. But as much as we are in denial, as much as we resist and kick and scream and throw a tantrum, the truth is that flossing is just as important at keeping our smile healthy. You know what they say; "Floss only the teeth that you want to keep!" It may not be what you wanted to hear, but if it's any consolation, in the modern world, you have tons of flossing options. Today, we discuss the new and shiny water flosser, and how it compares to the old school way of flossing with string.

What Is A Water Flosser?

There are many names for the water flosser, such as water pick or jet floss. Whatever you choose to call it, it is an electric device that shoots pressurized, pulsating water at your teeth. Its mission: to remove bacteria, plaque, and food debris around the gums and from in between teeth. It has a water tank connected to a motorized pump, which is attached to a specialized tip that shoots water at an area that you wish to clean. Think of it as a miniature power hose, shooting right at the bad bacteria and yucky food debris, the culprits of bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay!

Water Flosser VS String Floss: An Overview

Now that you know what a water flosser is, you may be wondering, "What's the difference?" There are many differences between a water flosser and the traditional string floss. Before you choose which one suits your lifestyle and needs best, here are a few things to consider:

  • Price: String floss will be less expensive than purchasing a water flosser, however, you do have to replace it more often. A typical water flosser can cost anywhere between $30 and $70.
  • Ease of Use: String floss is fairly easy to use, but many find a water flosser to be far more convenient. Since they simply have to point the device towards the area they want cleaned, many people find this much more agreeable than developing a knack for guiding floss between the tight contacts and the unique angles of your teeth. Plus, for those who know they won’t use string floss, a water flosser can be a good alternative. It's definitely better than nothing!
  • Electricity: Most of the water flossers require electricity and thus need to be plugged into an outlet. From a minimalist's standpoint, if you already use an electric toothbrush or other electric bathroom devices, having yet another item on your bathroom counter could prove frustrating. Plus, water flossers are not exactly easily portable devices, which is unfortunate for frequent travelers, such as myself. On the other hand, string flossers can be carried around anywhere, and it's a great habit to always have some in your purse or pocket!
  • Quality of Flossing: As a valuist, I always ask if a product is worth the money in terms of advantages. In other words, will a water flosser clean your teeth better than a string floss can? While this issue continues to be disputed, many dentists will argue that water flossers are great supplements to your oral hygiene routine, but that they cannot fully replace the effectiveness of a string floss used correctly. Speaking of which...

Can Water Flossers Replace String Floss?

Unfortunately, water flossers are fairly new and are just starting to be widely used. As with any novel product, it takes time to gather the data required to make a sound judgement about their efficiency. There is still a fair amount of debate regarding whether or not water flossers can be used to replace flossing the traditional way. Although opinions vary, most dentists (including myself) are not ready to confirm that a water flosser can entirely replace the string floss.

The Debtist x Bogobrush

Clinical studies have found that people who used water floss saw a greater reduction in gum disease and gum bleeding as compared with string floss. So that's good! A water floss is great for the gums because it sprays water and massages the gums, which then increases blood circulation in these areas. Increased blood circulation means that your body can bring anti-inflammatory factors to your gums more, which then reduces bleeding and inflammation of the gums. However, some studies have also shown that while water flossers can remove most debris and bacteria, it is not very good at removing plaque. The amount of pressure required to remove plaque is equivalent to the amount of pressure a power hose needs to remove paint! That's a lot of pressure! Using pressure like that can be very harmful to the gums, which is why most water flossers recommend using the lower settings. Lastly, even though it appears that water flossers can improve gum health, it is not necessarily true for teeth. Some patients are surprised to find that they have cavities after ditching the traditional floss for the water pick. Why does this happen?

The reason is that, while water flossers shoot a stream of water between your teeth and does a great job of removing food particles and rinsing teeth, the string floss, with its scraping motion, does a better job at removing plaque. The scraping motion of the string floss is what removes plaque which, if left on teeth, can eventually become tarter and result in gum disease. Additionally, the water from a water pick cannot wedge itself between tight contacts. Food can easily get stuck right where two neighboring teeth touch. A string is much better at wedging itself in between the contacts and removing the food. For this reason, I believe that string floss is better at preventing cavities and is just as good at preventing gum disease.

Who Should Use Water Flossers Over String Floss?

While most dentists still recommend using string floss, it is true that there are some cases in which individuals will not be able to use string floss.

The following is a list of conditions that make it difficult for individuals to use the traditional floss.

  • Sensitive Gums. People with sensitive gums may find that water flossers are less painful and are more gentle than traditional string floss.
  • Braces. Trying to maneuver string around metal braces can be tough! Water flossers can more easily remove food lodged in between the metal wires.
  • Dexterity issues. Those who have trouble positioning their hands properly in their mouths for string floss will find that water flossers are much easier to use.

In these cases, water flossers take the cake and are a great alternative. It also rings true that for some individuals, they simply will not floss because they dislike it so much. If you are one of these individuals, may I recommend first trying other types of string floss first? Some are easier to use than others. For example, glide ribbon floss will have an easier time getting in between tight, crowded teeth, and moves very smoothly along your gums. If you are looking for an alternative to the mint flavor, I personally recommend Cocofloss. They carry many fun flavors and is a great option for young kids as well, since they make flossing so much fun! That being said, if you know deep down that you really are not going to floss (maybe because you really just can't get into the habit or can't get the hang of it), then using a water flosser is recommended, since it is WAY better than doing nothing at all! At the end of the day, as long as you try your best to floss, your smile is going to thank you for it.

How about you guys? Which flosser do you prefer?

Samantha Tillapaugh is a practicing general dentist in Orange County, CA and is a lifestyle blogger at thedebtist.com.

1 Million Cups Fargo

July 30, 2018

Heather x Fargo

Earlier this month, Heather presented in Fargo to a crowd of more than 100 very engaged people. She talked about Bogobrush's vision for expanding our giving program and continuing the work of building a company with the values we believe in - eco and social. 

Heather at 1 Million Cups

Heather in her element!

Heather at 1 Million Cups

Heather also got the opportunity to meet Sarah from North Dakota State University's Engineers Without Borders program, who we've been working with as a new giving partner.

Heather with Sarah from NDSU

Fargo has been an awesome community of support for Bogobrush from the very beginning, and Heather felt honored to speak to the community again and share what's to come with Bogobrush. (Hint: new giving partners! New materials!)

If you'd like to see Heather's entire presentation, check out it out here! (Heather comes on at about 7 minutes and 30 seconds into the video.)

written by Samantha Tillapaugh from The Debtist

We all know that prevention is better than treatment when it comes to your teeth. Wanting the finest for our teeth, we search for the best gadgets to aid us in making sure our pearly whites are nice and healthy. The most often used tool, and thus your tooth’s best friend, is the handy dandy toothbrush. But when it comes time to select your toothbrush of choice, the wide array of choices sitting on the shelf or available on the net can be very, very overwhelming. Looking at the dilemma from the macro-level, I think the most common fork in the road occurs where we have to choose between a manual toothbrush and an electric toothbrush. Here, I will review the pros and cons of both options, and then talk about which one I myself choose to use, and why.

WHO COULD BENEFIT FROM AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH?

When patients come to me and ask if they need an electric toothbrush, many of them are surprised when I tell them that the answer is no. There are a few groups of people who could benefit from an electric toothbrush, but it is not necessary for everyone to have in order to maintain good oral health. Electric toothbrushes greatly benefit people with Parkinson’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or other such conditions that could impair one’s ability to hold and maneuver a toothbrush. Spinning and vibrating (and whirling and twirling) bristles are really great at restoring one’s manual dexterity when it has been lost. However, if you do not have any existing conditions that impair movement, then there is likely no need for an electric toothbrush at all.

The Debtist

AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH DOES HAVE ITS LIMITATIONS

An electric toothbrush is useful because you’ve got this machine that moves in certain directions to remove the sticky plaque building up on your teeth, but it does have its limitations. Usually, the direction that a toothbrush head spins or vibrates is singular. With manual toothbrushes, you can vary the direction of your brushing at any time, which can be more effective. For example, if your teeth are slightly crooked, an electric toothbrush that only spins in a clockwise direction may miss a particular spot that a manual toothbrush can reach by moving side to side, or up and down. Depending on where the tight corners in your particular dentition are, you can alter the same toothbrush to move different ways in order to reach very difficult areas. Also, the electric brushes are very strong, which some people are not aware of. Using them requires an even softer hand than using a manual brush. Even though the intentions are good, pushing down on an electric toothbrush can cause too much trauma on the gums, causing gum recession. We like gums as much as teeth, so this is no good. Therefore, using an electric toothbrush may seem easier, but easier does not always mean better.

THE TRUTH: MOST PEOPLE WOULD DO JUST FINE WITH A MANUAL TOOTHBRUSH

The truth of the matter is, most people would do just fine with a manual toothbrush. I understand that it takes some time (and practice) to learn how to use a manual toothbrush, but the same is true of anything else in your life. Once mastered, the chore becomes a habit, and habits are subconscious and therefore become easy. If you can put in the time and effort to learn how to use a toothbrush effectively, then a manual toothbrush would work equally as well as an electric toothbrush! But, if you do not want to put in the effort to learn how to properly yield a manual toothbrush, then yes, you can buy a gadget and it can do the work for you. It makes sense that the results of inefficient manual toothbrush techniques will be subpar with the results of a vibrating electric device. However, what most people do not understand is that learning how to brush really well can yield results that are as good, and sometimes even better, than your new gadget.

WHY I CHOOSE TO USE A MANUAL TOOTHBRUSH

On that note, most patients are surprised to learn that I myself choose to use solely manual toothbrushes. There are many reasons why I opt for the manual brushes. As an advocate of slower-living, a lover of nature and sustainable products, and a fan-girl of the lost art of doing things for ourselves, I am partial towards tooth brushing by hand. Manual toothbrushes give us sustainable product options that are more eco-friendly than their plastic vibrating counterparts. We have manual brushes on the market that are biodegradable, recyclable, or recycled themselves. It allows me to pick a product that is in line with my values and my intention of creating less waste. Additionally, I have more control with a manual toothbrush. I can move the bristles in directions that are good for my particular dentition and I can alter the pressures that I place on my gums a bit easier. And lastly, I find them to be much more cost-effective. My persona as the Debtist easily explains why cost-efficiency is important for me. From a dentist perspective, I understand that we can do just as well with a manual as we can with an electric one.

The Debtist

While electric toothbrushes do have their uses and are a huge help to those who need it, I believe we have gotten to a point where they may be a bit over-hyped (and possibly over-sold) for the sake of convenience. It’s an easy answer to the question, “How do I brush my teeth well?” Instead of teaching people to be better brushers, we are making them dependent on a tool to do the work for them, and the cost is more plastic being introduced into our environment at ever-increasing price as less and less people learn how to effectively brush. I tell patients all the time that we are responsible for our oral health, and we shouldn’t depend solely on spinning brush wheels. We need to take our oral health back into our own hands. Quite literally. And with that, the battle of the brushes continue.

Samantha Tillapaugh is a practicing general dentist in Orange County, CA and is a lifestyle blogger at thedebtist.com.

Hi everyone!

My name is Samantha Tillapaugh. I am a practicing general dentist in Orange County, California, as well as a lifestyle blogger at thedebtist.com. When I am not writing or saving the world, one tooth at a time, I am usually finding as many ways as possible to be in nature. I love traveling to other countries, mostly to learn more about other cultures and to broaden my perspective. When I am home, I spend my days making good cups of coffee, baking home-made sourdough bread, reveling in a quiet yoga practice, or reading books on a couch, to quench my unending thirst for more knowledge.

I am known as The Debtist due to the large amount of debt that I accrued going to dental school. The debt has led me to embrace a very simple lifestyle, focused around daily choices that do good for the planet, and the people on it. I went into dentistry with the goal of helping people, and I wanted to extend that past the patients I interact with every day. I recently decided to create a section on my blog where I could share my dental knowledge online, so that my education does not go to waste! I figure that I paid a lot of money to learn all that I know, so that I could share it with my patients, and the world at large, for free.

I am so excited to be partnering with Bogobrush in their quest to make oral health care cool! Your oral health care does not have to be complicated, confusing, or scary. Instead, we want to educate others about their teeth, in order to empower them to take control of their oral health. We want to make it very easy to talk about current, relevant, real-life topics, as well as provide actionable tips that anyone can take to ensure that they have a smile that shines. I hope to shed light on some of the facts (and occasionally, personal opinions), but this is never the final say. I write as a means to share what I know, with an open-ness to learn more. Feel free to express your opinions, ask questions, or to just reach out. With that, we are glad you are here.

Sincerely, Sam.

Bogobrush does good

June 12, 2018

One of Bogobrush's friends, Marcus, told us why he uses Bogobrush. For him, it's all about simplicity.

WHY I BOGOBRUSH
It’s simple 
1) It does good (it's biodegradable!)
2) It looks good
3) It feels good (the bristles are perfect for my teeth and gums) 

Marcus
Marcus with his trusty Bogobrush
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Do you have a story of why you Bogobrush? Send us an email, and we'll love to feature you! 

ON APRIL 22, FIFTEEN DETROITERS GATHERED for the Earth Day Clean Up we sponsored with The Collective at True North. Armed with work gloves, and garbage bags of all shapes and sizes, this crew ventured into the endless blocks of trash near the Core City neighborhood in Detroit. 

We picked up garbage for 2 hours, and made our way through only 1 city block. One block! We ended up with 2 mounded pick-up loads, and nearly 50 bags of trash. Plenty of garbage was not even accessible through the brambles of bushes, or were rubber tires that need special pick-up. But, it's pretty amazing how cleaning up affects the neighborhood. 

NEIGHBOR LOVE

After the event, Bre (co-founder of The Collective) was closing up and a neighbor came out and shared this touching story:

"I'm 84 years old and have lived on the street for 50 years. I saw people outside and just had to come out and say thank you for taking time to do something about the trash in the area. I raised 10 kids in this house and now I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren! This little corner of Detroit used so vibrant; filled with cafes and shops. It makes me feel so happy to see all the new things coming to the area and that the people moving in truly care about bringing the neighborhood back." 

Every bit matters. <3

Thanks to all the Detroiters who came out for Earth Day. Stay tuned for another clean-up event later this summer.

PICTURES!

Bre, co-founder of The Collective helps set an intention and instruction for the clean-up.
hey John! (Bogobrush co-founder and designer)
um...hmm. maybe they knew Bogobrush was coming. ;)
cleaning up, cleaning up
yay, snacks! always need a bit of reward after hardwork.
the Clean Up coordinators, Laura and Bre:)
THANKS EVERYONE! See you next time. Until then, keep on brushin' :)
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pictures (instant and digital) by Mar Mnz

"SO MY WIFE CAN SLEEP"

March 05, 2018

WHY I BOGOBRUSH?

Bogobrusher and Wefunder Investor, Scott, recently shared with us his story for being a Bogobrush fan. Scott is a self-described "recovering mechanical engineer" with decades of experience creating sustainable buildings. His story is both practical and endearing. Read on. :)

 

BOGOBRUSH IS QUIET TO USE
Within the last 18 months, my wife and I moved from Iowa to Idaho. I found a dentist I really like who strongly recommends an electric toothbrush. I am trying to do what my doctor recommends, but found that this toothbrush makes a fair bit of noise. My wife and I often have different schedules. I might be up late working on something and don't want to wake her, so I use the Bogobrush because it is quiet! Same thing in the morning depending on when we get up.

 

WHY I INVESTED IN BOGOBRUSH ON WEFUNDER

TO SUPPORT EARTH-FRIENDLY LIFESTYLES

So, why did I invest in Bogobrush on Wefunder in the first place? Often people, companies, and organizations feel overwhelmed when faced with improving sustainability. It is a huge issue and we often feel very small or not impactful enough. One of the concepts that I present (and the hundreds of engineers that worked for me over the years heard over and over and...well you get it) is any number times a big number is a big number.

I use the concept of your toothbrush as that small thing that is multiplied by in your case billions of times (opportunity wise of course) that reduces the raw plastic going into landfills. While I don't have a compost pile to throw my brushes, I know that the majority of the brush will decompose in the landfill. Landfills need stuff to decompose too!

WHAT HOOKED ME AS A CUSTOMER

BEAUTIFUL DESIGN AND GIVING BACK
Now, the style, quality, design, and your matching donation of brushes is what kept me a customer. When traveling (I retire my daily brush and stand to travel when I get a new brush) when people see my brush and stand they love the idea of the stand and then learn about the other aspects of the brush. Not sure how many became customers, but I try! 
.
Scott Bowman Bogobrusher
Scott, pictured above. Story and photo submitted directly by Scott. The story is edited only slightly for length and organization by Bogobrush Team.
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Do you have a story of why you Bogobrush? Send us an email, and we'll love to feature you! 

Bogobrush brush + stand in Naked flax biocomposite

Creating a compostable toothbrush that actually works.

When we first started Bogobrush, one guiding rule was that everything we create should benefit the planet, and the people who live on it.   To benefit the planet, we committed to bring products into the world that would never end up in a landfill.  To benefit people, it meant those products had to be uncompromising in their quality, cleaning your teeth as well or better than any toothbrush on the market.  What we quickly realized was that there were plenty of "eco" toothbrushes that promised to be good for the environment, but completely failed at their task of cleaning teeth.  

450 million toothbrushes end up in US landfills every year

We knew that there had to be a way to make a product responsibly, locally, and sustainably that still functioned perfectly.   The book, Cradle to Cradle had long been an inspiration to us, and we followed the process to create two collections of products:  A Recycled plastic toothbrush that can recycled over and over again,  and a Biodegradable composite toothbrush that is made from plants, and can be composted at the end of it's life.  

We were beyond fortunate to meet our friends and partners at C2renew who were innovating in the science of bio-composites, and were willing to try their new materials out on our humble toothbrush.   

Bogobrush made from Flax biocomposite

 

With our Naked Flax collection, you will get a product with zero compromise for the planet, or your smile.  If you haven't already, give your daily routine an upgrade, and say goodbye to the landfill by getting your hands on a toothbrush that is designed to be different.  Order your Bogobrush here, and start brushing better.

TOOTH FAIRY TALES

June 05, 2017

THE NIGHT THE TOOTH FAIRY LOST $19

We are suckers for good tooth fairy tales. The following story comes from a family in John and Heather's home town. (For privacy, the character's names are changed to "Mom" and "Daughter.")  :)

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midori yamadi tooth fairy

Midori Yamada, "tooth fairy"

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IT WAS A MAGICAL DAY when Daughter lost her first tooth. Mom told her to place it under her pillow while she slept so the Tooth Fairy would collect it and leave her a bit of money. Daughter was very eager so she did exactly as Mom instructed. Unfortunately, Mom forgot about the Tooth Fairy that night. In the morning, Daughter asked her mom why the Tooth Fairy didn't come. Mom, hoping for a path for redemption, told Daughter the Tooth Fairy sometimes needs two nights to get it all done.

THE SECOND NIGHT, Mom woke up at 4am and realized she still hadn't put the Tooth Fairy's money under Daughter's pillow. She fumbled for her wallet, opened it and reached for two $1 bills. Careful to not wake Daughter, Mom quietly tucked the bills under Daughter's pillow. Pleased with her work, Mom fell back asleep.

The next morning, Daughter flew open her bedroom door and exclaimed, "Mom! The Tooth Fairy brought me $21 dollars!" 

"Mom! The Tooth Fairy brought me $21 dollars!" 

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Sorry, Mom. Daughter got the jackpot with that one. :) Send us a tooth fairy story of your own and we'll be glad to feature it!