The 9 Best Biodegradable Dental Flosses of 2021

Stay flossy and sustainable

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The Rundown
Except for vegans, this floss hits all the sustainability marks, as it’s fully zero-waste and compostable.
The least expensive, high quality option that’s still near zero-waste and includes compostable floss.
The floss expands a bit once it’s between your teeth, which can be useful for those with tight interdental spaces.
Sustainable and stylish, this zero waste floss is a winner.
Georganics offers an orange flavor floss with sustainability and health benefits.
If you are going to throw away your floss packaging, this simple-but-ingenious design is your lowest-waste option.
If interdental brushes are better for you than floss, check out this company's bamboo verision.
Happy Eco offers two different grip styles to accommodate different types of hands or disabilities.
Best Reusable Floss Pick:
Quip Refillable Floss Pick at Getquip.com
This pick has a one-click system to replace the floss each use, so all that’s disposed of is the used floss.

Dental floss is an important tool in your dental-care arsenal. If you are conscious of the plastic we produce, you may have noticed that the relatively small roll of floss is often packaged in an overlarge plastic container (sometimes packaged inside another piece of plastic!) that serves little purpose other than taking up space in your drawer or dopp kit.

It’s a waste of hard plastic that will stick around in the landfill for up to 500 years. The plastic was also made from a nonrenewable resource (oil)—all of that waste for a container that is unlikely to be easily recycled, and ultimately, pretty unnecessary, as judged by the plethora of much lower-impact options on the market.

 Here's the scoop on the best biodegradable dental floss:

Best Overall: TreeBird Pure Silk Eco Floss

TreeBird Pure Silk Eco Floss

This hits all the marks (unless you’re a vegan who chooses not to use silk). The silk floss, waxed with plant-derived candelilla wax (which is vegan) is totally biodegradable even in a home compost.

The floss comes in a simple glass bottle dispenser that will look good on your bathroom counter, and can be easily recycled, or even better, reused for years by simply buying a floss-only refill from TreeBird. Even the exterior packaging can go in a home compost, with its soy-printed paperboard and compostable stickers. It’s priced very reasonably.

How To Find Well-Fitting Floss

Too often, floss is a bad fit, which is one of the main reasons people stop using it. The spacing of everyone’s teeth is a bit different, so what works for your mom or partner might not work for you. Floss should move through teeth smoothly so you can get between your teeth and slide the floss a couple inches easily. If it’s so hard to get floss through that you hit your gums every time, that’s not the floss for you. 

So if you are an on-again-off-again flosser, buy a few different brands, find the best fit and slide for your teeth, and give the rest away to friends and family once you have found your ideal thickness. 

Best Budget: Wowe Biodegradable Silk Dental Floss

Wowe Biodegradable Silk Dental Floss

This floss comes in a simple (and easily recyclable or reusable) stainless steel container, which is made from recycled materials. The floss is natural silk and coated with candelilla wax. It comes with three refills, enough to last many months, and the company sells a less-expensive five-pack of just the silk floss as well.

Best for Close-Together Teeth: Thrive Market Gentle Tape Dental Floss

Thrive Market Gentle Tape Dental Floss

If your teeth are very close together, you might prefer a tape-style floss. This vegan option comes in an FSC-certified paperboard and surgarcane container instead of a plastic one. The floss expands a bit once it’s between your teeth, which can be useful for those with tight interdental spaces.

The floss itself is nylon so that part’s not biodegradable, but it is coated in organic coconut oil, and organic carnauba wax which is derived from a specific type of palm tree. Organic mint is added for flavor and organic tea tree oil, which is a natural antibacterial, will discourage plaque growth between teeth.

Best Sustainable Style: Dental Lace Zero Waste Refillable Silk Floss

Dental Lace

If you’re the kind of person who likes their packaging to be both zero-waste and fabulous looking, Dental Lace has you covered. The original zero waste floss, it won early awards for a groundbreaking product.

The packaging is a recyclable glass container with an also-recyclable cap, but since they look so good, you might end up reusing it once your floss is done. Or you can simply order a floss-only refill and keep using the cute case for its intended purpose. This floss is vegan—plant-based polylactic acid (PLA), coated with natural, nontoxic candelilla wax which is derived from the plant of the same name.

Best Non-Mint: Georganics Dental Floss

Georganics Dental Floss Orange

Most of the flosses on this list only come in a mint flavor, but not everyone likes mint. And those who take certain homeopathic remedies are advised to avoid it. Georganics offers an orange flavor with all the sustainability and health benefits of the others on this list.

The biodegradable, PLA-based floss coated is with candelilla wax, and comes in a reusable glass container, and minimal, recyclable exterior packaging. It’s simply flavored with orange peel oil so if you need or want to avoid mint for any reason, this one’s a great option.

Best Disposable Packaging: Radius Natural Biodegradable Silk Floss

Radius Pure Silk Unscented Natural Floss

If you are going to throw away your floss packaging, this simple-but-ingenious design is your lowest-waste option. It’s simply a cardboard box instead of a hard plastic one, but otherwise functions the exact same as the plastic package does.

If you pull the little metal floss cutter out, the rest can be recycled with other paperboard. If it doesn’t get recycled, it will still degrade hundreds of years faster than plastic will. There are some floss options, from jasmine green tea or unscented silk with candelilla wax. There’s also a vegan version in cranberry or mint, and an USDA-certified Organic option in peppermint, cardamom, or vanilla mint (the vegan and USDA organic ones are nylon-based however, which isn’t biodegradable).

Best Interdental Brushes: The Humble Co. Interdental Brush Bamboo

The Humble Co. Interdental Brush Bamboo

If you prefer an interdental brush, they can be a great option for cleaning between teeth. Depending on your teeth and mouth structure, these brushes might be easier to use for you to use than floss, enabling you to keep plaque build-up in check between dental visits.

The Humble Company’s brushes are available in various sizes, so you can get a good fit for your teeth. When you figure out which is best for you, they have individual size packs for future orders. Made from a compostable bamboo handle with BPA-free heads (made from nylon, they aren’t compostable), you’d need to separate the heads from the body to easily compost, but it’s still a better option than the all-plastic alternative.

Best Floss Picks: Happy Eco Plant Based Floss Picks

Happy Eco Plant-Based Floss Picks

Floss picks are inherently wasteful, but for those with hand mobility issues, they might be the only flossing option. However, a reusable floss pick like the Quip one below, would be an ideal choice from an environmental perspective.

Happy Eco offers two different grip styles to accommodate different types of hands or abilities, and both are made from PLA, otherwise known as corn-starch plastic. These picks come in a paper package.

Best Reusable Floss Pick: Quip Refillable Floss Pick

Quip Refillable Floss Pick

If you are dedicated to using a floss pick for whatever reason, a reusable one makes the most sense from a waste perspective. The Quip system includes a sturdy floss pick that comes in a travel case (you can opt for a metal or plastic version and both have a mirror for on-the-go flossing). The pick handle has a one-click system to replace the floss each use, so all that’s disposed of is the used floss.

The floss is vegan, a waxed polyester that’s not recyclable or compostable, but compared to disposable picks, this still generates much less waste. Replacement floss comes in a paper pod, and you can choose to have new floss pods sent automatically on a schedule so you don’t have to think about ordering.

Final Verdict

For a silk floss, the TreeBird (view at Amazon) hits all the sustainability marks you can think of, if you want a floss you can find at the supermarket, the Radius (view at Walmart) is an easy-to-find option. If you love a floss pick instead of straight floss, go with the Quip refillable pick (view at Quip).

What to Look for in Biodegradable Dental Floss

There are a few different ways to think about the packaging and floss. There’s the package, which can be reusable (often glass, sometimes a more durable plastic), or compostable material. Then there's the floss itself, which could be made from a wax-covered cotton, which is biodegradable and/or compostable, or silk. Typically, most conventional flosses are made from nylon, which will sit in landfills as long as the plastic package it came in, and some are even coated with a petroleum-based wax. 

Some flosses use the same coating as Teflon pans, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which can be ingested in small amounts as you floss—and may be linked to a range of cancers. Those people who are concerned about their cancer risk may want to avoid products that contain PTFE. 

Lastly, if you want a vegan product, it won’t be compostable, and vice versa, so the choice is between PLA plastic and nylon flosses (vegan) and silk (not vegan and compostable). While PLA (corn-based) plastics are technically compostable, it really only breaks down effectively in industrial compost facilities—and it’s unlikely they would take floss even if you have access to one. That said, PLA is a better choice than nylon, since it’s made from a renewable material and could degrade eventually more easily than nylon does. There are a couple of nylon options on our list, but only in the cases of expandable floss and interdental brushes that don’t have a non-nylon version. In these cases, the products listed are the best options taking all the packaging into consideration, and still better than all-plastic floss brands.

Why Trust Treehugger

Starre Vartan has been researching and reviewing environmentally sustainable products for 15 years and wrote a book on eco-friendly, healthy living. She is an avid flosser (and has only had one major cavity to show for it), and prefers silk dental flosses for their easy biodegradability and smooth texture.