As you brush your teeth day after day, you may wonder: how long does a tube of toothpaste last? Or rather, how long should a tube of toothpaste last?
Well, there are a few different factors—how many people live in your home, how often you brush your teeth, and how much toothpaste you use each time you brush.
So, let's take a look.
How Much Toothpaste Should I Use?
Guidance on how much toothpaste we should use when brushing our teeth actually begins in childhood. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), caregivers with children under the age of three should brush their toddler's teeth with a small amount of toothpaste—about the size of a rice grain—twice a day.
Once a child is 3 years old, the ADA recommends supervising a child brushing their own teeth using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. From there, nothing really changes! This pea-sized amount is the recommended amount to achieve an effective brushing throughout the course of our lives.
If you or anyone in your family is already in the habit of using too much toothpaste, you might believe you are getting your mouth extra clean because you can feel and taste the toothpaste throughout your entire mouth. But when you use a pea-sized amount and practice good brushing habits, you will still get your teeth clean and keep your mouth healthy.
The ADA also recommends overall good hygiene habits. This includes brushing your teeth twice each day, flossing daily, and enjoying a balanced diet. In addition, it's best to replace your toothbrush regularly and keep your dental checkups consistent.
How Long Does a Tube of Toothpaste Last?
You might be curious about how long a tube of toothpaste lasts if you follow the ADA's guidance. To determine how many tubes of toothpaste you might go through over the course of a year, we'll have to do some math.
First, check the size of your toothpaste tube. Many toothpaste tubes are around 4 ounces, which is just over 113 grams. When I weighed a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on my kitchen scale, it was about 1 gram.
So, assuming a person brushes twice a day and my scale is accurate, a tube should last about two months. That means if you're the only person using your toothpaste, you'll go through about six tubes each year.
If you have kids, you're probably laughing at the "pea-sized amount" recommendation. And the thought of only using six tubes a year. You likely have globs of toothpaste all over your bathroom countertops every morning and feel like you buy a new tube every other month.
Whether you or your family uses six, eight, or fifteen tubes a year, it's important to consider the environmental impact of that waste in your local landfill.
How Can I Recycle Toothpaste Tubes?
To help minimize waste, Tom's of Maine toothpaste tubes are made with recyclable plastic. Because of this, you can rest assured that your tube will go through the recycling stream when you toss it in your curbside bin.
Simply do the following when the last drop has been used:
- Check that your tube has the #2 HDPE plastic recycle symbol.
- Squeeze the tube from the bottom up, removing as much of the paste as possible.
- Screw the cap back on the empty tube.
- Put it in a household recycling bin that accepts #2 plastic.
Once in the recycling processing facility, the tube will be rinsed, removing any residual product. There is no need for you to cut the tube open or try to rinse the inside clean.
How Else Can I Help?
While you're considering the environmental impact of your toothpaste tube waste, keep that positive energy moving! There are other ways in which your individual choices can make a difference for the environment.
How about switching to an eco-friendly toothpaste? Choosing a sustainable toothpaste means you are doing your part even further by supporting naturally sourced and derived ingredients.
If you're looking for ways to reuse or recycle your household goods, visit the DIY Naturally board from @tomsofmaine on Pinterest.
The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.
Why It's Good
Practicing good oral hygiene is an important part of maintaining your overall health. When you use sustainable toothpaste and recycle your toothpaste tubes, you are doing your part to keep both your mouth and the planet healthy.